Another young life has ended tragically due to an alleged drunk driver. The victim, a 23-year-old Eastern Virginia Medical School student, was a passenger in a minivan stopped at a red light at East Princess Anne Road and Sewells Point Road in Norfolk. The Dodge Caravan was stopped behind a Mitsubishi Galant, when it was hit from behind by a Toyota RAV-4 SUV. The SUV’s driver failed to stop for the red light.
The impact of the hit pushed the Caravan into the Mitsubishi. The victim, who was sitting in the front seat, along with the two other occupants of the minivan, was transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where she later died. The driver of the Mitsubishi was not injured in the crash.
According to law enforcement, the driver of the SUV, a Virginia Beach man, has been charged with driving under the influence and refusal to submit to a blood sample. After being treated at the hospital for minor injuries, he was arraigned and then transferred to the Norfolk City Jail.
The Norfolk Police Department are continuing to investigate the fatal crash. When they are finished, investigators will turn their findings over to the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to decide if additional charges should be filed against the driver of the SUV.
Under Virginia law, the driver could possibly be charged with involuntary manslaughter or aggravated involuntary manslaughter. Depending on the severity of the charges, a conviction can result in between one to 20 years in prison.
Not only does a person who is deemed responsible for a drunk driving accident face criminal liability, Virginia law also allows victims of drunk driving crashes to pursue punitive damages against the driver, as well.
Despite all the attempts at educating and warning people about the dangers of drunk driving, more than 200 people are killed every year on Virginia’s roads in alcohol-related crashes. In North Carolina, that number is almost doubled, with more than 350 victims killed in drunk driving accidents each year.
If you have lost a loved one in a drunk driving crash, contact a skilled North Carolina or Virginia wrongful death attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have against the driver for your family’s pain and loss. Our Virginia and Carolina personal injury law firm also offers a free wrongful death guide for families who have lost a loved one in an accident. The guide covers topics such as the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim, what types of damages can be pursued, and who can be appointed as personal representative.