Four children and two adults suffered injuries requiring hospital treatment after their vehicles were struck by an aparently impaired driver who was fleeing police in Raleigh County, West Virginia (WV). The multivehicle crash occurred at the toll plaza and interchange between U.S. 19 and U.S. 16 near Beckley.
According to the Register-Herald, the incident began when a state trooper spotted a woman picking up money from around a collection booth. The trooper pulled over the woman, who then sped away and down an exit ramp, T-boning a pickup truck carrying four kids. The truck spun out and rolled over while the fleeing driving continued onward until rear-ending another car. All the people in the two vehicles hit by the woman running from police sustained injuries.
The at-fault driver also wound up hospitalized, and law enforcement officers said she was unresponsive. The first trooper who encountered her also indicated the suspect seemed unable to answer questions.
Drivers who flee traffic stops and lead police on chases down highways and surface roads often cause wrecks that leave innocent people injured and killed. When that happens, the actions of both the suspect and the police must be investigated. Law enforcement personnel have great discretion when it comes to exceeding speed limits, running red lights and entering the path of oncoming traffic when trying to apprehend a potentially dangerous person, but the police must take any such actions in ways that present as little risk to the public as possible.
At the same time, the suspect can potentially be held criminally and civilly liable. This means that a person can be prosecuted for something like vehicular assault and also made to settle victims' insurance and damage claims. Sorting through all the legalities to ensure the best outcome can require assistance from an experienced personal injury lawyer.