A 71-year-old man who lost control of his Jeep on the interstate in Southwest Virginia on the morning of January 19, 2017, now faces a reckless driving charge for causing a fatal wrong way crash. The man crossed the median of I-81 between Roanoke and Salem before striking a car traveling in the opposite direction. The woman driving the car lost her life, and a passenger in the car was hospitalized with serious injuries.
Virginia State Police investigators did not know why the elderly driver ran off the left side of the northbound interstate. As a charge, reckless driving means the accused driver appeared to be acting in a way that "endanger[ed] the life, limb, or property of any person." That statutory language is broad enough to cover falling asleep at the wheel, driving while in such poor health that keeping your vehicle under control is unlikely or exceeding the posted speed limit by more than 20 mph.
Evidence that law enforcement officials collect to secure a reckless driving conviction can also be used by a Virginia personal injury and wrongful death attorney to help the victims file and collect on insurance claims. Working with a plaintiff's lawyer will ensure the family of the woman who got killed and the surviving passenger receive all the information from police so they can overcome challenges raised by insurance company representatives.