A fleeing driver caused a fatal head-on collision south of Washington, DC. The incident started along I-95 in Spotsylvania County, Virginia (VA), and ended tragically in the interstate’s Express Lanes through Prince William County. By the time the high-speed chase concluded, the at-fault driver and two other people were dead. Four other individuals suffered injuries.
According to state police, one of its troopers clocked a Dodge Charger traveling at 80 mph in a 65 mph zone. The officer signaled the driver of the Dodge to pullover, but the woman behind the wheel of the car took off. The initial trooper broke off pursuit due to heavy traffic while the fleeing woman used the highway shoulder to go around slower-moving vehicles.
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A second trooper engaged the Dodge south of the town of Dumfries, and the fleeing driver crashed through several lowered vehicle barriers in order to enter the Express Lanes going against oncoming traffic. The trooper did not follow.
Quoting a state police press release, WAVY TV-10 reported what happened next: “The Dodge struck a 2020 Ford Ranger pickup truck head-on in Prince William County. The truck landed on its side over the guardrail. Then, a 2016 Hyundai Tucson and a 2021 Volkswagen Atlas collided with the Dodge, causing the Dodge to catch fire.”
The driver of the Dodge died from physical injuries and burns at the scene. Her passenger was ejected through the car’s windshield and also died before being transported to a hospital.
Perhaps most tragically, the 61-year-old retired Marine helicopter pilot in the pickup truck suffered fatal injuries. He was reportedly commuting home from his job at the Pentagon at around 4:30 pm on March 18, 2021, when he fell victim to the driver who was running from a stop for alleged speeding.
The four individuals in the Hyundai and Volkswagen who survived the multivehicle crash were described as sustaining only minor injuries. All are expected to physically recover.
A Senseless Loss With Legal Complications
Authorities did not publicly state a reason for why the woman driving the Dodge refused to stop when signaled to do so. Whatever her motive or intent, the deadly outcome cannot be undone or explained away. My Virginia wrongful death law firm colleagues and I send our deepest condolences to the family in Dumfries who suddenly and senselessly lost a father, grandfather and husband. We also wish for all the innocent injured individuals to make quick recoveries.
It is unknown whether the woman who caused the head-on and chain-reaction crashes carried car insurance. If she did, the victims of her negligent and reckless actions will be able to file wrongful death and personal injury claims against her policy. Insurance does not expire when an at-fault driver loses their life in the wreck they caused.
The crash victims will probably also need to invoke the uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage provisions of their own car insurance policies. Virginia requires each policy sold in the state to include UM/UIM coverage. Crash victims have access to these benefits after hit-and-run collisions, when at-fault drivers have no insurance and when liability limits are too low to provide full compensation.
Insurance companies do not automatically settle UM/UIM claims, however. Seeking compensation in this way amounts to suing your own insurer. Consequently, partnering with a dedicated and caring plaintiff’s attorney can be a good idea.