A hit-and-run collision in Bedford County, Virginia (VA), sent two innocent victims to the hospital in Roanoke with serious injuries. The crash happened near the intersection of U.S. 460 and Bells Mill Road at around 5:45 pm on October 22, 2017.
Virginia State Police are using their Facebook page to gather information from witnesses and anyone who may know the identity of the driver who fled the scene. Trooper have a preliminary description of the fleeing vehicle as “a maroon or burgundy four-door passenger vehicle driven by a man with three small children in the back seat.” Tips can be reported to (800) 542-5959 or [email protected].
The crash sent a pickup truck into the highway median, where it overturned. The individuals inside, identified as a 67-year-old man and 65-year-old woman from Moneta, may have escaped fatal injuries by wearing seat belts. News reports do not include details on whether doctors expect the hit-and-run victims to recover fully.
State troopers noted that people who stopped to help the pickup truck driver and passenger said that the man in the car remained at the scene briefly before he sped away. If law enforcement officials track him down, they will almost definitely charge him with a felony. Virginia’s law on hit-and-run collisions states
The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident in which a person is killed or injured or in which an attended vehicle or other attended property is damaged shall immediately stop as close to the scene of the accident as possible without obstructing traffic … and report his name, address, driver's license number, and vehicle registration number forthwith to the State Police or local law-enforcement agency, to the person struck and injured if such person appears to be capable of understanding and retaining the information, or to the driver or some other occupant of the vehicle collided with or to the custodian of other damaged property. The driver shall also render reasonable assistance to any person injured in such accident, including taking such injured person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital if it is apparent that medical treatment is necessary or is requested by the injured person.
The legal duties to remain and render aid exist even if the crash truly resulted from an accident or circumstances outside of a driver’s control. One reason for this is that insurance liability can exist, and victims of crashes caused by others deserve to hold people who harm them financially accountable for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Unfortunately, hit-and-run drivers wreak havoc all across Virginia. During 2015, the last year for which comprehensive statistics are available, the Department of Motor Vehicles recorded 4,214 hit-and-run crashes. Fourteen people died in those wrecks, and 1,179 involved pickup trucks like this one on U.S. 460 in Bedford County.
If the driver who knocked their pickup off the highway cannot be found, the injured man and woman should have coverage under the uninsured motorist provisions of their own insurance policies. Such coverage is often misunderstood and can be difficult to invoke. Partnering with a Virginia personal injury lawyer who has experience helping hit-and-run victims could clarify legal issues for the injured individuals and hold the insurance company to its obligations.