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Illegal Pass on Two-Lane Highway Causes Head-On

A head-on collision in Loudoun County, Virginia (VA), in the predawn hours of October 13, 2017, illustrated the dangers of trying to move around a slower-moving vehicle in a no-passing zone. The two-car crash happened on VA Route 9/Charles Town Pike near Purcellville Road, killing one driver and sending the other to the hospital with serious injuries.



The stage for the deadly wreck was set when three vehicles attempted to cut around a tractor-trailer a little after 4:40 am. Two of the drivers headed west managed to pass the semi, but the third could not as the group entered a curve and encountered a Dodge Charger traveling east.

Where the crash happened, Route 9 has two lanes divided by double yellow lines. That road marking indicates drivers must stay on their side of the highway unless they want to make a eft-hand turn or, for safety reasons, need to move past a pedestrian, skateboarder or bike rider. Passing a tractor-trailer there would violate section 46.2-804(6) of the Virginia Code.

The head-on collision killed the driver attempting to make the illegal pass at the scene. The man behind the wheel of the Dodge Charger is expected to survive after being flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital.

In addition to violating the no-passing statute, the driver who lost his life and injured the innocent man neglected his duty to pass safely. The relevant phrase from section 46.2-838 of the Virginia Code instructs drivers to “proceed with due caution and maintain a safe speed.” The driver who caused this head-on collision in Loudoun was doing neither.

As a state trooper told local news radio station WTOP following the deadly wreck on Route 9, drivers must “stop and think before engaging in the types of risky driving that caused the crash.”

The official continued by advising drivers to ask themselves, “‘Do I really need to make this maneuver? Is it safe?’” before concluding with, “if the answer is in any way leaning toward ‘no’ then don’t do it,”

Neglecting to obey lane markers and to pass safely makes a driver responsible for settling insurance claims for inflicting injuries. This legal liability remains even though the at-fault driver died as a result of his illegal and improper lane change. Consulting with an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer will help the injured survivor of the of this Loudoun County crash hold the at-fault driver accountable through his auto insurance policy.


Randall E. Appleton
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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