A man who stopped to assist two other drivers who had crashed on the interstate heading south from Richmond to Petersburg, Virginia (VA), suffered life-threatening injuries when a fourth driver struck him on the shoulder of I-95. The nearly fatal secondary pedestrian collision happened shortly before 10 pm on March 6, 2018.
The first crash happened near Exit 58 to Ruffin Mill Road. The two drivers involved sustained only minor injuries, but the Good Samaritan pulled over to check on them. As he stood behind his own vehicle, the fourth driver drifted right while attempting to pass by the crash scene and struck the Good Samaritan.
The injured pedestrian was admitted to the hospital in critical condition. It is unclear whether the person who almost killed him will be charged with committing a traffic violation. A possible offense could be ignoring Virginia’s so-called move over law. Section 46.2-921.1A of the state code requires
The driver of any motor vehicle, upon approaching a stationary vehicle that is displaying a flashing, blinking, or alternating blue, red, or amber light or lights … shall (i) on a highway having at least four lanes, at least two of which are intended for traffic proceeding as the approaching vehicle, proceed with caution and, if reasonable, with due regard for safety and traffic conditions, yield the right-of-way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the stationary vehicle or (ii) if changing lanes would be unreasonable or unsafe, proceed with due caution and maintain a safe speed for highway conditions.
Causing a crash that injures someone after failing to change lanes or slow down is punishable by fines and a driver’s license suspension of up to two years. Avoiding those penalties should not be a driver’s primary concern, however. The desire and instinct to protect police, emergency medical personnel, tow truck drivers, crash victims and Good Samaritans should make people want to comply with the move over law. Someone outside of vehicle and standing beside a highway has no protection except drivers’ attention and respect.
My Virginia personal injury law firm colleagues and I thank the goodhearted individual who risked his own health and safety to help the people who crashed ahead of him on I-95 in Chesterfield County. We urge all other drivers who would decide to trust trained professionals to respond to pass such crash scenes cautiously and at a wide berth. No one should increase the chances for subsequent collisions and additional injuries or deaths.