The police report on an August 5, 2016, multistage hit-and-run collision on Holland Road in Virginia Beach, VA, reads like the script for a semi-comedic car chase in a low-budget movie. The details, however, are all too real. The only minor pieces of good news emerging from the accident that sent three victims, including a 16-year-old pedestrian, to hospitals with serious injuries are that police quickly apprehended the at-fault driver and that all the injured individuals are expected to recover.
Here is how the Virginian-Pilot summarized the bizarre chain of events that unfolded at around 8 pm on that night:
He crashed into a vehicle about to turn right into the King Kleen Car Wash … . The driver didn’t stop. Instead, he veered onto a sidewalk near the Holland and Governor’s Way intersection, where he struck and seriously injured a 16-year-old girl who was walking there. … Again, he didn’t stop. He got back on Holland, hit a second car and continued driving. His third and last crash was at Holland and South Plaza Trail, according to the document, where he rear-ended a car that was stopped in the left-turn lane.
Once again, he kept going. He drove his car over a low, narrow concrete median at the intersection, into the opposing lanes of traffic, and made a wide right onto South Plaza Trail … . Other cars began following and eventually were able to box the car in.
The at-fault driver registered a blood alcohol concentration of 0.294, nearly three times the legal limit for driving and close to the level where people start slipping into comas and dying from alcohol toxicity. A look at his smartphone also revealed that the hit-and-run driver had been playing Pokémon Go while behind the wheel, which, the newspaper noted, is a growing threat for wrecks across the United States. The degrees of intoxication and distraction at the heart of this accident are off the charts. Realizing that both existed at the same time boggles the mind.
My Virginia Beach-based personal injury law firm colleagues and I advise high school students against taking the risks of driving while distracted at every opportunity. We also committed ourselves decades ago to only taking the cases of people harmed by others' negligence and recklessness. We find it difficult to imagine anyone behaving more negligently and recklessly than getting dangerously drunk, making the choice to drive and, then, devoting most of his limited focus and attention to a video game.