A four-vehicle pileup in central Virginia the day before Thanksgiving 2017 sent six people to hospitals and claimed the life of one driver. The chain-reaction crash happened where VA-727/Red House Road meets with Robinson Road and Central Church Road.



Virginia State Police learned of the incident at around 4 pm on Nov. 22, 2017. Investigators determined that the first collision happened when a pickup truck driver swerved to avoid a car making a left-hand turn. That caused a crash between two pickups and the car. Moments later, a Jeep Cherokee driver slammed into the wreckage.

The impact of that fourth collision sent the Jeep off the road and into a ditch, where the vehicle overturned. The driver of the Jeep died at the scene, and troopers identified him as 50-year-old Marcellus Pannell.

One or more drivers is expected to face charges in the wake of this deadly chain-reaction crash in Appomattox. The person behind the wheel of the car may be cited for failing to obey a stop sign or failing to yield right of way before making the left-hand turn. The later offense is defined in section 46.2-825 of the Virginia Code, which states, in part, “The driver of a vehicle, intending to turn left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction if it is so close as to constitute a hazard.”

The statute place duties on drivers to exercise caution. How much caution is needed varies according to specific circumstances. Where Red House Road, Robinson Road and Central Church Road intersect, for instance, the side streets meet the state highway at sharp angles. A driver waiting at the stop sign on Robinson could easily have his or her view of oncoming traffic partially obscured, as could a driver on Central Church. That reality just makes it more incumbent on the driver to check and recheck to make sure the way is clear before making a turn.

Regardless of how responsibility for the multivehicle crash in Appomattox is assigned by police investigators, all the people who suffered injuries could benefit from speaking with an experienced and knowledgeable Virginia personal injury lawyer. A wrongful death attorney could also provide valuable guidance to the family of the man who lost his life. Figuring out insurance issues after a multivehicle crash that may have more than one cause is always difficult. Relying on a caring legal partner can make navigating the claims process easier.