A hit-and-run driver in Newport News, Virginia (VA), sent six people in an SUV to hospitals. The crash happened in the southbound lanes of I-664 at the approach to the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge.
Virginia State Police received a call about the two-vehicle wreck a little before 8:30 am on July 15, 2017. According to information later released to reporters, the driver of a red hatchback caused the collision. The impact led the person behind the wheel of the SUV to lose control and roll over.
Five of the individuals in the SUV were children, one of whom suffered such severe injuries that he was medevaced to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. The SUV diver and four other children were treated at Riverside Regional Medical Center. No details were released about the nature of the victims’ injuries or the victims’ likelihood of making complete recoveries.
Crash investigators have asked anyone who witnessed the hit-and-run collision or who may know the identity of the driver who fled the scene in a red hatchback with major damage to its front end to call (757) 424-6800.
Finding the fleeing vehicle and holding its driver criminally accountable is important. Identifying the hit-and-run driver will also make it easier for the injured adult and the families of the injured children to succeed with personal injury insurance claims and civil lawsuits. If the at-fault driver is never located or proves to have limited coverage, the victims may need to invoke uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist provisions of their own auto insurance policies. An experienced and caring Virginia personal injury lawyer will be able to assist them in either situation.
In addition to highlighting the growing problem of hit-and-run collisions, this wreck near the MMBT in Newport News also calls attention to the dangers drivers and passengers face in rollover accidents. A July 2017 update to crash statistics monitored by the Insurance Information Institute contains these troubling notes:
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the rollover crash is one of the most deadly forms of crashes among passenger vehicles, accounting for more one-third (32.5 percent) of all occupant fatalities in 2014. Among passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2014, the proportion of fatalities in rollover crashes was highest for utility trucks (a type of light truck) at 51.7 percent, followed by pickup trucks (44.8 percent), vans (29.8 percent) and other light trucks (28.1 percent). For passenger cars, the proportion was 22.3 percent. The number of people killed in single-vehicle rollover crashes for passenger vehicles fell 4.0 percent in 2014 from 2013.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) issued a report in March 2008 that indicates that roof strength in SUVs significantly influences injury risk. The IIHS came to this conclusion by testing the roof strength of SUVs in much the same way that the government requires of automakers and then relating the findings to the real-world death and injury experience of the same vehicles in single-vehicle rollover crashes. The IIHS tested 11 mid-size SUVs that did not have electronic stability control or side curtain airbags, features that might affect injury rates in rollovers. Researchers concluded that if the roofs of all of the SUVs tested had the same strength as the strongest roof in the test, about 212, or almost one-third of the 668 deaths that occurred in these SUVs in 2006, would have been prevented.
If deficiencies or defects are found in the roof of the SUV that rolled over after getting hit on I-664, the injured occupants may also have grounds for seeking compensation and monetary damages from the vehicle’s manufacturer.