A Virginia State trooper and one other driver sustained injuries requiring hospital treatment in a chain-reaction accident on I-264 at the Norfolk-Virginia Beach border. The accident occurred during evening rush hour on August 7, 2014, and it appears to have resulted from a brief high-speed chase along the interstate.
According to WAVY-TV 10, the police officer had been pursuing a speeding suspect. The fleeing driver swerved into another lane, but the trooper could not maneuver in time to avoid a rear-end collision with another car that was moving slowly ahead of his cruiser. In all, six vehicles wrecked, and the trooper and a person in the car he initially struck suffered injuries serious enough to require hospitalization.
Reports do not specify whether the speeding suspect was apprehended or involved in the multivehicle crash. A spokesperson said state police were continuing to investigate the accident to determine its exact cause.
As a Virginia personal injury lawyer who has followed up on police-involved auto accidents, I know that such incidents often result from pursuits. Suspects are surely to blame for creating the dangerous situations, but law enforcement personnel never lose their obligation to avoid causing wrecks. Weaving through traffic and traveling faster than speed limits or traffic conditions dictate can be necessary to enforce laws and prevent other harm to innocent people, but police can, and should, be held liable for causing avoidable accidents.
Whether the trooper who initiated the chain-reaction crash on I-264 was justified in chasing the suspect or could have reasonably avoided the rear-end collision remains to be determined. Even before those determinations are made, however, the injured person should consider contacting an attorney with experience handling cases of police liability to ensure his or her rights and interests are represented.