Driving while intoxicated has been flagged as the underlying reason for a crash in Henry County, Virginia (VA), that killed a motorcycle rider on the afternoon of June 11, 2017. The fatal wreck happened near the intersection of State Route 610 and County Road 1043, which are locally known as, respectively, Axton Road and Gospel Light Chapel Road.
According to State Police investigators, a man driving a car caused the deadly collision by running off the right side of Axton Road, overcorrecting his steering, reentering the roadway out of control and crossing the double yellow center line. The motorcycle rider, identified as a 61-year-old resident of nearby Martinsville, died at the scene.
News reports do not indicate whether the at-fault driver was under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. Virginia state statutes make each situation illegal, setting a maximum legal blood alcohol concentration of .08 for adults operating passenger vehicles and furthering specifying legal limits for blood levels of cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine metabolites and PCP (phencyclidine). Drivers taken into custody under suspicion of DWI also usually get tested for use of opioid prescription painkillers, heroin and marijuana.
Even drunk or high, the driver who hit and killed the motorcycle rider in Henry County may have been able to prevent the tragedy by responding appropriately when he ran onto the shoulder of Route 610. Safety experts offer the following advice to drivers who tires leave the pavement:
- Keep eyes forward
- Take foot off the gas pedal
- Steer calmly all the way onto the shoulder
- Brake gently
- Stop and wait until the lane is clear to reenter the roadway
Driving while intoxicated greatly lowers the ability of people to act safely and make clear decisions. That harsh reality led to the highly avoidable death of an innocent motorcyclist in Southwest Virginia. Holding the driver accountable is a two-part process consisting of a criminal prosecution and an insurance filing or civil lawsuit aimed at making him pay compensation and damages to the family who lost their loved one so needlessly. Working with a caring Virginia wrongful death attorney will help ensure that second outcome.