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Driver Charged with Reckless Driving in Fatal Roanoke Crash

A 72-year-old Oklahoma City man has been charged with reckless driving after he drove his vehicle head-on into another car, killing the driver and seriously injuring a passenger. The fatal crash happened at around 11:00 a.m. Friday morning on Interstate 81 at the 134-mile marker in Roanoke.

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According to details released by Virginia State Police, the man was traveling north on the interstate when he lost control of his Jeep Liberty. The Jeep drove off the left side of the road and then crossed over the center median, where it slammed into a 1999 Honda Civic that was traveling southbound.

The driver of the Honda, Hannah Marie Hochstetler, 26, of Jackson, Miss., died at the scene of the crash. Police say she was wearing her seatbelt. Her husband was a passenger in the car and was transported to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, where he underwent surgery for non-life-threatening injuries. He was also wearing his seatbelt. The couple was returning home to Mississippi after attending a leadership seminar at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg.

The driver of the Jeep was also transferred to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital for treatment. Police are continuing their investigation into the fatal crash.

Reckless Driving under Virginia Law

National statistics reveal that more than 30 percent of all fatal car accidents are caused by a reckless driver. Virginia Code defines reckless driving as follows:

“Irrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving.”

Speeding is one of the most common causes for reckless driving crashes. Virginia law also states that if a driver is going more than 20 mph over the posted speed limit, or if they are driving more than 80 mph regardless of what the posted speed limit is, they are guilty of reckless driving.

Reckless Driving Behaviors

There are also other behaviors that drivers engage in that the Virginia DMV classifies as reckless driving. These include:

  • Driving with an obstructed view;
  • Failure to yield right of way;
  • Failure to properly use vehicle brakes;
  • Failure to signal properly when turning;
  • Illegal passing;
  • Driving too fast for conditions; and
  • Improper control of your vehicle.

Let a Virginia Wrongful Death Attorney Advocate for You

Although the State Police continue to investigate this reckless driving crash, the family of the young woman who was killed should contact a skilled Virginia wrongful death attorney to discuss what their legal options may be against the driver responsible for her death. Our Va. injury law firm has successfully represented many victims’ families and understand how devastating these losses can be.

Richard N. Shapiro
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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