A commercial truck driver appears to have never slowed down before plowing into a line of cars at a red light in Fredericksburg, Virginia (VA), just before noon on November 2, 2017. The six-vehicle crash happened at the intersection of State Route 3 and Gateway Boulevard, leaving one woman dead and three other innocent people hospitalized.
According to a spokeswoman for the Fredericksburg Police Department, a man operating a semi cab without a tractor attached changed lanes shortly before the wreck. No skid marks indicative of braking were found on the pavement of Route 3, which is also known as Plank Road.
The deceased victim was identified as a 56-year-old woman who had lived in Spotsylvania County. An 80-year-old man who also became trapped in the car with the woman who lost her life suffered serious injuries. It is not clear from news reports whether he was the victim still listed in critical condition on the day after the crash.
Police have charged the truck driver with felony involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving. Section 46.2-852 of the Virginia Code defines the second alleged offense this way: “Irrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving.”
Such dangerous behavior behind the wheel can be grounds for accusing a driver of committing manslaughter. The relevant Virginia statute, section 18.2-36.1(B), cites “conduct … so gross, wanton and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life” as grounds for a felony prosecution.
Initiating a criminal case against the truck driver who caused the fatal crash on State Route 3 matters to the victims in two ways. The people hurt and the family who lost their loved one can seek justice. In addition, all the evidence collected by police to support convictions can also be used to substantiate personal injury insurance claims and a wrongful death lawsuit.
Working with a caring Virginia wrongful death attorney who has experience helping families who suffer tragic losses in truck crashes will allow the victims to access and use all the evidence gathered by investigators. Enlisting the assistance of a plaintiff’s lawyer will also let victims hold all the responsible parties accountable. In wrecks involving commercial trucks, companies, as well as drivers, can be at fault for problems like faulty brakes or inadequate employee screening and training.