A head-on collision in the southeast corner of Winchester, Virginia (VA), left two innocent people dead and three others seriously injured. The fatal crash happened on Paper Mill Road on the evening of March 24, 2018.
Frederick County sheriff’s deputies responded to the wreck at around 6:35 pm. They determined that a pickup truck driver had crossed the double yellow line on two-lane Paper Mill Road and struck an SUV. The elderly man behind the wheel of the SUV died at the scene, and his front seat passenger succumbed to injuries after being taken to Winchester Medical Center.
A female passenger in the SUV and the at-fault driver also wound up hospitalized, while a 17-year-old rescued from the SUV needed to be airlifted to Inova Fairfax Hospital for more intensive treatment. News reports do not indicate whether the driver of the pickup has been charged with allegedly committing any traffic violations or crimes.
The site of the deadly head-on collision is about halfway between the Paper Mill Road overpass across I-81 and the intersection with Shawnee Drive. A sheriff’s office spokesperson told reporters that officers had no explanation for why the pickup driver went left of center. The spokesperson explained that the roadway is straight, that the posted speed limit is reasonable and was not apparently exceeded, and that investigators detected no skid marks from hard braking on the pavement.
Whatever caused the at-fault driver to violate the keep-right and no-passing rules indicated by the double yellow line, the deadly and disabling outcome cannot be explained away. Even if law enforcement officials never charge the pickup driver, he can be held accountable to his victims via personal injury insurance claims and wrongful death lawsuits. Any evidence collected by crash scene investigators can be used to support claims for compensation and damages.
This fatal head-on is a rare occurrence that serves to remind everyone that risks from out-of-control drivers exist everywhere. During 2017, the Virginia Department recorded 630 crashes in the City of Winchester. Those wrecks inflicted just 161 injuries and caused no deaths. The collision on Paper Mill Road may shock the community as much as it saddens the families of the innocent driver and passenger who lost their lives.
My Virginia wrongful death attorney colleagues and I send our deepest condolences out to the grieving friends and family members. We also wish the injured individuals full and rapid recoveries. Along with those thoughts, we want to again broadcast the message that all drivers must do everything in their power to keep their vehicles under control at all times. Even a moment’s negligence or distraction can take another person’s life.