According to state troopers, the driver sped off, leading the officer on a chase that exited the Interstate and on to surface roads. The driver crashed into a pickup truck and died at the scene. The driver and passenger in the pickup truck were taken to the hospital with undisclosed injuries.
No alcohol or drugs are reported to have been involved.
This accident is a tragic example of the perils of foolhardy driving, which can be as bad or worse as driving under the influence. The fugitive caused his own death trying to elude the state trooper, and harmed two innocent bystanders in the process. According to section 46.2-817 of the Code of Virginia, eluding a police officer in a manner that endangers a person or the operation of a law enforcement vehicle is a Class 6 Felony. Certainly, the driver committed this very crime, having not only endangered others’ lives, but his life as well.
It is well-reported by the National Safety Council that traffic death rates are three times greater at night than during the day. In addition to the driver’s rate of speed and reckless conduct, he created a very high probability of getting into an accident.
Barron H. Lerner is a faculty member at NYU’s Langone School of Medicine. On January 10, 2014, he lost his 9-year-old nephew when the boy was trying to cross an intersection at night. A taxi making a left turn crashed into them, and the child was killed. The driver was given a summons for failing to yield, but for Lerner, the consequences should reflect the severity of the crime. Distracted and reckless driving are the top causes of automobile accidents in America, both of which involve dangerous decision-making behind the wheel.
Though no substances are reported to have been the cause of the crime, it must be understood that a driver is always responsible for responding to his or her surroundings in an appropriate manner.