A crash between two motorcycles in the very early morning hours of February 18, 2017, left one Prince William County, Virginia (VA), woman dead and her friend and fellow motorcyclist facing serious criminal charges. The fatal rear-end collision happened at 1:38 am on Mapledale Avenue in Woodbridge.
Police told reporters that the surviving motorcycle rider caused the deadly wreck by braking suddenly to make a turn. The woman following him could not stop in time, hit his bike, and sustained fatal injuries when she was thrown from her own motorcycle. Multiple news outlets have identified the deceased woman as 53-year-old Nellie Rae Sacra.
An initial charge of driving while impaired has been filed against the male motorcyclist. Other criminal charges and traffic citations are expected. Under Virginia law, a motorcycle is classified as a motor vehicle. Motorcyclists, like car drivers, are considered to be illegally under the influence of alcohol when they have a measurable blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more. Details on the level of the at-fault motorcyclist’s intoxication were not included in news reports.
All drivers and motorcycle riders owe it to themselves and other people on the road to set down their keys when they pick up a bottle. In 2015, the last year for which complete data are available show that the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles recorded 7,591 alcohol-related crashes that resulted in 241 death and 4,917 injuries. Each of those totals marked 25-year lows for drunk driving wrecks, fatalities and hospitalizations, but all remain far too high. The statistics also actually underreport the terrible toll DUI/DWI takes on Virginia residents and visitors because they omit wrecks caused by drivers under the influence of drugs.
Victims of drunk and drugged drivers have strong claims to make for compensatory and punitive damages. Driving under the influence is considered a reckless act because consuming too much alcohol makes a person heedless of the pain and suffering they can inflict while also rendering them somewhat incapable of preventing harm.
A designated family member could pursue a wrongful death insurance claim against the motorcyclist who caused the fatal rear-end collision in Woodbridge, VA. Hiring an empathetic and dedicated wrongful death attorney could help the family member succeed in holding the person accountable. Insurance company representatives may try to cast blame on the woman who lost her life. Countering such arguments can be difficult without assistance from a wrongful death attorney who serves as a legal ally and champion.