According to state police, Trooper C.W. Amburgey was assisting a disabled tractor-trailer and had his emergency lights on at the time of the accident. His car was partially blocking a travel lane.
As experienced Virginia accident injury attorneys we are appalled by any incidents that see police officers struck and hurt in the line of duty. We are relieved the injuries suffered by this trooper were not more serious. We have reported on a number of injuries and deaths sustained by state troopers while working the highways of Virginia and North Carolina.
In 2010 we reported on an accident involving a trooper near the complicated Bowers Hill interchange between I-664, U.S. 58 and U.S. 460 in Chesapeake, VA. A tractor-trailer veered onto the shoulder of the highway and struck Trooper S.E. Hawkins. According to a Virginian-Pilot article, Hawkins suffered "broken bones in his lower right leg, fractured ribs and a gash on his right arm." In that case, as in the accident in Southampton County, it appears the at-fault driver failed to obey the Move Over Law, which instructs drivers to move over or reduce speed for stopped emergency vehicles.
Many troopers, EMTs and EMS workers end up injured when passing drivers fail to give them a safe space to work in. Across Virginia, eight state troopers have been involved in roadside collisions during 2009 and 2010.
Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs remains a major issue in cities such as Norfolk, Portsmouth and Hampton, VA, where an elderly pedestrian was recently killed by a DUI driver. Criminal and civil courts have little tolerance for drivers who cause accidents under the influence of alcohol. In a recent case four of our clients -- a driver and three passengers -- were awarded $110,000 after they were rear-ended and injured by a DUI driver.
Under Virginia's drunk driving laws, if any person is found to have to be driving in excess of a certain high level of intoxication, punitive damages may be awarded by a jury in addition to normal personal injury damages.