A wrong-way driver in Richmond, Virginia (VA), sent four innocent people to the hospital on the night of July 25, 2017. The two-vehicle wreck happened on the Downtown Expressway through the Carytown section of the city.
Based on information supplied by Richmond Police, television station WTVR described the crash that occurred at around 10:45 pm in these terms: “A 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe with four occupants, including the driver, was traveling westbound on the downtown expressway toward I-195 when a silver 1999 Toyota Corolla struck the vehicle in a head-on collision.”
The wrong-way driver died at the scene. All four occupants of the Toyota required hospital treatment, with one of the survivors being admitted with life-threatening injuries. Investigators do not know why the driver of the Hyundai SUV got onto I-195 going the wrong way. They are asking anyone who witnessed the incident to share anonymous tips by calling Crime Stoppers at 780-1000 or texting “ITip” to 274637.
The state laws of Virginia have little to say specifically about wrong-way driving, though doing so often brings a charge for reckless driving. The reckless driving statute prohibits operating a vehicle “at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.” Heading into oncoming traffic at interstate speeds certainly meets that description.
When a special panel convened by the National Transportation Safety Board set out to identify the main reasons drivers took the reckless action of going the wrong way on limited-access highways like Richmond’s Downtown Expressway, they learned that “driver impairment, primarily from alcohol use” represented the number one explanation. Driver confusion, a lack of warning signs and poor visibility of existing signs were also major problems.
Regardless of why the wrong-way driver caused this head-on collision in the Carytown neighborhood, the harm he inflicted on four innocent people cannot be undone. Even though the driver at fault for the head-on collision lost his life, his auto insurance policy will remain in effect until all legitimate claims for compensation and monetary damages are resolved. Working with an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer will help the people hurt by the wrong-way driver deal with insurance issues, which my become complicated by the absence of the policyholder.