A recklessly speeding driver and a brief police pursuit set the stage for a fatal crash at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. The fleeing driver was the sole fatality, but an innocent bystander required hospital treatment after flying debris struck them.

According to news reports, the incident began when a Virginia State trooper clocked a Toyota sedan traveling at more than 100 mph while passing the I-264 ramps to First Colonial Road. The trooper chased the speeding driver for a brief time.

Within minutes, the fleeing driver sideswiped several vehicles near the intersection of 21st Street and Pacific Avenue. The driver then slammed into the guardrail outside the building that houses the Bunker Brewpub and Peabody’s Nightclub.

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No one inside the building suffered injuries. The driver reportedly died on impact, and the car burst into flames.

Three police officers received treatment for smoke inhalation they experienced while trying to free the driver from the burning wreckage. Two bystanders were hit by debris, with one of the pedestrians sustaining serious injuries.

Fleeing Drivers Create a Multitude of Dangers

The crash at 21st and Pacific in the Virginia Beach Resort Area happened on the same day as another deadly police pursuit in the southwestern part of the state. A start-and-stop chase spanning several hours and two counties ended when the fleeing driver crossed a median on Route 58 in Patrick County and collided with another vehicle head-on. The at-fault driver survived with serious injuries and will face multiple charges.

Each year, hundreds of people die and end up hospitalized as a result of high-speed police chases. More often than not, victims include bystanders or individuals in vehicles who simply found themselves in the paths of fleeing drivers and pursuing law enforcement officers.

My Virginia Beach personal injury and wrongful death law firm colleagues will leave commentary and debates over the need for policies that limit or prohibit police pursuits to others. We concern ourselves with ensuring that individuals hurt in chases and families who lose loved ones have the chance to hold those who harmed them accountable.

In both the Virginia Beach and Patrick County crashes, the fleeing drivers likely owe compensation in the form or personal injury and wrongful death claim settlements. If one or both of the at-fault drivers lack insurance coverage, Virginia law allows for filing and collecting on uninsured motorist claims. In all events, consulting with an experienced and caring plaintiff’s attorney will clarify the next steps.

EJL