An innocent woman suffered serious injuries when a possibly drunk driver who was fleeing a traffic stop hit her car head-on in Lancaster County, Virginia (VA), on the night of December 2, 2017. The collision happened at the intersection of State Route 3/Mary Ball Road and State Route 605/Pinkardsville Road, and the at-fault driver died at the scene.
According to reports from both the Virginia State Police and the county sheriff’s office, a deputy had stopped the soon-to-be-deceased man for a vehicle safety and driver identity check on Mary Ball Road a little before 9:30 pm. As the deputy ran the man’s driver’s license and discovered that it was suspended, the driver sped off. He reached speeds of 90 mph in stretches where the posted speed limit is 35 mph while law enforcement officers pursued him.
The 61-year-old resident of Lancaster, VA, who later needed to be airlifted to VCU Medical Center in Richmond for surgery, had just completed a left-hand turn onto Route 3 from Pinkardsville Road when the fleeing driver crossed the center line and slammed into the front of her car. Evidence collected after the crash led investigators to suspect that the driver they had chased was under the influence of alcohol.
This wreck in Lancaster County illustrates the dangers of fleeing a traffic stop, police pursuits, speeding and driving while impaired. When the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle compiled and analyzed traffic crashes in the state during 2015, the department discovered these facts:
- 65,029 persons were injured
- 14,052 persons were injured in speed-related crashes
- 4,917 persons were injured in alcohol-related crashes
State-based reports do not break out information on the number of people hurt or killed in police chases, but the Bureau of Justice Statistics within the U.S. Department of Justice does track those details. For 2012-2013, the latest period for which complete data are available, the bureau found the following:
- General purpose state and local law enforcement agencies conducted an estimated 68,000 vehicle pursuits in 2012.
- From 1996 to 2015, an average of 355 persons (about 1 per day) were killed annually in pursuit-related crashes.
My Virginia personal injury law firm colleagues and I wish the woman who became an unwitting victim of this police pursuit-related wreck a full and rapid recovery. Even with the one driver fleeing arrest, speeding recklessly and possibly driving drunk, figuring out the full responsibility for and insurance implications of this head-on collision may prove difficult. The injured woman and her family would benefit from consulting with an experienced and caring Virginia personal injury lawyer.