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2 Passengers Die After Driver Fleeing Richmond-Area Police Checkpoint Flips Car Into River

A Hanover County, Virginia (VA), resident is facing murder, manslaughter, felony hit-and-run and a slew of other criminal charges after flipping the car he was driving into the Chickahominy River on February 3, 2014. According to police and fire-and-rescue reports, the crash occurred when the man identified as Andrew Taylor Walters sped away from a police checkpoint, lost control of the car and ran through a swampy area before landing upside-down in the water.

A 15-year-old and a 27-year-old passenger were both trapped in the turned-over car for approximately 30 minutes before rescuers freed them and resuscitated them from cardiac arrest. The women died in the hospital from their injuries and the aftereffects of near-drowning and hypothermia.

As the WTVR CBS6 news video above explains, Andrews escaped from the crashed car and fled on foot. Apprehended quickly, he initially faced only relatively minor charges of driving with a suspended license, eluding police and providing false information to officers. The subsequent deaths of the passengers, along with a monthlong investigation that revealed Andrews was no longer taking prescribed medications to control symptoms of mental illness, prompted the murder and manslaughter charges.

As this case sadly illustrates, people with physical or mental problems that make operating a motor vehicle potentially unsafe can be prosecuted for causing accidents when they do not take appropriate measures to improve or maintain their health. Just as drugged driving can lead to serious injuries and wrongful deaths, so can failing to take drugs meant to heal.

Driving when too sick and causing an accident that hurts or kills other people also leaves a driver potentially liable for civil penalties such as making payments to injured parties or the families of those who lost their lives. 

EJL

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