A driver who lost control of his van caused a wreck in Virginia Beach, VA, that sent four people to hospitals with injuries and sparked a natural gas explosion and fire at a McDonald's restaurant. The crash occurred at around 9:30 am on June 5, 2015, near the intersection of General Booth Boulevard and London Bridge Road. All the injured and burned victims, one of whom was a fast-food workers, survived after receiving medical treatment and being sent home.
Police believe the at-fault driver lost control of his vehicle because he suffered a medical emergency while attempting to make a left-hand turn. WAVY-TV 10 described the incident this way:
The flames erupted in part from a broken underground gas line. Firefighters and utility workers needed more than an hour to get the gas shut off and the blaze extinguished. It is unclear whether the reported injuries were burns or trauma from the various collisions.
Fixed-object collisions--the legal term for a car or truck hitting a building, tree or guardrail--occur with surprising frequency. Serious injuries and deaths among people inside a structure hit by a vehicle are less common, but this accident in Virginia Beach shows that even the expanse of a parking lot, the momentum-killing force of earlier crashes, and the strength of concrete walls and steel support beams cannot provide guaranteed protection against an out-of-control van.
The driver probably will not face charges because he unexpectedly became unable to operate safely. He will, however, most likely be held liable for settling insurance claims arising from the physical injuries and property damage incurred during and after the crash. Poor health, even when it comes on suddenly, does not usually excuse a person from causing harm.