A speeding drunk driver ran a red light and caused a four-vehicle crash in James City County, Virginia (VA), on the afternoon of January 6, 2021. The collision sent one innocent victim to the hospital with life-threatening injuries and led to a preliminary charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI) for the woman who initiated the incident.
According to police, the problem started when a convenience store clerk in Williamsburg refused to sell alcohol to a woman who appeared intoxicated. The woman assaulted the clerk, climbed into her BMW sedan and proceed down Merrimac Trail “at a high rate of speed.”
The woman ignored a stop signal at the intersection with Penniman Road and slammed into a pickup truck whose driver had right of way. The force of the impact knocked the pickup into the path of two other oncoming vehicles.
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The man behind the wheel of the pickup sustained the near-fatal injuries. One other person suffered minor injuries, as did the at-fault driver. She received treatment at Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News before being released and charged. Police continue investigating the crash and expect to file additional charges.
A Case Study in DWI Dangers
Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs creates several significant dangers. This crash on Merrimac Trail in James City County highlights many of them.
Intoxicated drivers are prone to making poor decisions, beginning with choosing to operate a motor vehicle when they are not in full control of the bodies, thoughts and emotions. Drunk and high drivers also tend to ignore and violate other traffic laws. They are more likely to exceed the speed limit and blow through stop signs and red lights. Some of this is due to impaired judgement; blurred vision and slowed reflexes also play a role in creating crash risks.
Predictably, the drunk driver who ran a red light while speeding caused an accident that someone did not walk away from. My Virginia personal injury law firm colleagues and I wish the severely injured man in the pickup a full ad rapid return to health.
Regardless of how the DWI and other charges are resolved, all the evidence gathered by police can be used to establish negligent or reckless behavior on the at-fault driver’s part for the purposes of supporting personal injury insurance claims. The injured victims can request compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
The man who almost had his life taken could also have grounds for pursuing punitive damages, which are noncriminal fines for reckless behavior. One qualification for this is that collecting punitive damages in Virginia requires winning a civil jury trial. Consulting with an experienced plaintiff’s attorney will clarify where taking that option makes sense.