A three-vehicle crash near the Bedford County town of Goode, Virginia (VA), killed one driver and sent another to the hospital with injuries. The fatal collision happened at around 3 pm on May 17, 2017.
Virginia State Police responded but could not immediately determine what caused the deadly pileup at the intersection of Centerville Road/VA 122 and Lankford Mill Road/VA 644. Centerville is also known in stretches as Big Island Highway.
News reports indicate that one of the drivers was attempting to enter Centerville from Lankford Mill Road. The side street is marked with a stop sign, but the view of oncoming traffic can be obstructed. As one person who works never the scene of the deadly wreck just past a curve on Centerville explained to the Lynchburg News & Advance, “the grass and foliage surrounding the intersection [often] blocked cars from view.”
A car, pickup truck and SUV were involved in the pileup. The deceased driver was in the pickup, and it appears that the driver of the car sustained injuries.
Even with an obstructed view, the person attempting to enter the highway after stopping on Lankford Mill Road is likely to be found at fault. Virginia law places a duty on anyone coming to a stop sign to remain there and yield right of way to oncoming traffic until moving into the intersection presents no risk for crashing. Specifically, section 46.2-821 of the Virginia Code states
The driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection on a highway controlled by a stop sign shall, immediately before entering such intersection, stop at a clearly marked stop line, or, in the absence of a stop line, stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or, in the absence of a marked crosswalk, stop at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway. Before proceeding, he shall yield the right-of-way to the driver of any vehicle approaching on such other highway from either direction.
Failing to yield right of way leads to thousands of deaths each year. A National Highway Transportation Safety Administration study on the characteristics of collisions at intersection revealed that in 2008, “about 40 percent of the estimated 5,811,000 crashes that occurred in the United States … were intersection-related.” The driver-related reasons found for those incidents were, in order,
- Inadequate surveillance,
- False assumption of other’s action,
- Turned with obstructed view,
- Illegal maneuver,
- Internal distraction (e.g., checking phone or GPS device), and
- Misjudgment of gap or other’s speed.
Regardless of who is found to be at-fault for the crash in Bedford County, a personal injury or wrongful death claim will result. All the people involved would benefit from consulting with an experienced Virginia personal lawyer and wrongful death attorney who can keep them fully informed while the police investigation proceeds and also help them deal with insurance company representatives.