A wrong-way driver caused a fatal three-vehicle wreck on the interstate through Chesterfield County, Virginia (VA). The deadly crash happened at 8:55 pm on July 12, 2017, just south of the ramps to Route 288/World War II Veterans Memorial highway.
Virginia State Police had few answers for why the man behind the wheel of Hyundai was going south in the northbound lanes of I-95. They were able to determine that he collided head-on with a Kia and that a Toyota driver then also ran into the Kia.
The at-fault driver died at the scene while the Toyota driver survived with serious injuries. The person driving the Kia succumbed to his injuries shortly after arriving at a nearby hospital.
A special report on wrong-way driving prepared by the National Transportation Safety Board noted that “wrong-way collisions tend to have higher fatality rates than other accidents. A study in Virginia found the fatality rate for wrong-way collisions on controlled-access highways to be 27 times that of other types of accidents.”
Upon analyzing such crashes, researchers determined that driving under the influence and confusion or lack of attention led to the majority of wrong-way collisions on limited-access highways. As the authors of the NTSB report wrote, “Safety issues concerning wrong-way driving: driver impairment, primarily from alcohol use, with consideration of older driver issues and possible drug involvement; [and] the need to establish, through traffic control devices and highway design, distinctly different views for motorists approaching entrance and exit ramps.”
When a person travels head-on into oncoming traffic at 55 mph or faster, potential crash victims have little time and space to avoid collisions. And as this deadly wreck on I-95 in Chesterfield County grimly illustrates, drivers not involved in an initial crash may not be able to avoid secondary collisions that inflict further serious injuries.
My Virginia personal injury law firm colleagues send our heartfelt condolences out to the friends and family members of the person in the Kia who lost his life. We also wish the injured Toyota driver a full and rapid recovery.
Even though the at-fault wrong-way driver died, his insurance policy will remain in effect until personal injury and wrongful death claims are resolved. The people harmed by this wreck will benefit from consulting with a Virginia plaintiff’s attorney soon, as statutes of limitations apply to filing insurance claims and pursuing civil lawsuits.