A three-vehicle crash in Isle of Wight County, Virginia (VA), sent an innocent driver to the hospital with serious injuries. Additionally, the person who Virginia State Police believe set the chain reaction into motion died at the scene.

Investigators said the crash began when a 33-year-old Smithfield resident driving a Toyota Camry crossed the center line of a rural highway. Specifically, the incident happened on Route 10 just east of where it becomes Route 258.

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A head-on collision with a westbound Volkswagen SUV was followed by a Ford pickup slamming into the wrecked vehicles. The driver of the Volkswagen, identified as a resident of Windsor, went to Riverside Regional Hospital for treatment. No injuries were reported for the person behind the wheel of the pickup.

State troopers told reporters that alcohol use and excessive speed contributed to causing the Camry driver to leave their lane. News reports did not contain further details.

Many Driving Dangers in Evidence

Being drunk could explain why the Toyota driver exceeded the speed limit and crossed the center line of Route 10 near Smithfield. As experts with the University of Michigan explain on the medical school’s website:

Three alcoholic drinks will bring a person’s blood alcohol level to approximately 0.05%, which can impair the ability to rapidly focus vision, lower alertness and decrease coordination—to the point that steering becomes difficult and response to driving emergencies becomes blunted.

After approximately four alcoholic drinks, one’s balance, vision and reaction time are often affected. It becomes harder to detect roadway dangers. Reasoning and information processing are often measurably impaired. This corresponds most closely to a BAC of 0.08%.

Excessive alcohol use increases risk-taking like speeding. Drinking too much before driving also reduces the ability to correct errors such as leaving one’s lane.

Regarding the problem law enforcement officials and researchers call “lane departures,” a team affiliated with the Highway Loss Data Institute of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety wrote, “Drivers who crash as a result of drifting out of their lanes often are asleep, suffering a medical emergency, or blacked out due to drug or alcohol use … . Among the lane-drift crashes studied, incapacitation reportedly played a role in 34 percent of collisions and 42 percent of crashes resulting in fatal or serious injuries.”

 Who Has Liability?

The injured person driving the Volkswagen has surely asked who has liability for covering their medical bills and providing other forms of compensation. Only a full investigation into the head-on collision and secondary crash will reveal that information.

If police identify the Camry driver as the person at-fault, their insurance policy will remain in effect despite their death. Finding both the Camry driver and pickup driver partially at fault could also happen.

In all events, the injured innocent victim can consult with an experienced and caring personal injury lawyer. Doing so will protect their rights and ensure they receive answers to all their questions.

EJL