A crash between a farm truck and a car in Isle of Wight County, Virginia (VA), killed the two occupants of the smaller vehicle. The deadly head-on collision happened on U.S. Route 460/Windsor Boulevard near the intersection with Yellowhammer Road.
Virginia State Police responded to the wreck at around 2:15 pm on March 26, 2018. They determined that the driver of the truck had caused the crash after running off the left side of westbound 460, overcorrecting his steering in an attempt to return to the roadway and crossing over the center line. At the place where the collision occurred, 460 is a four-lane rural highway with a speed limit of 55 mph. The lanes of oncoming traffic are divided only by a double yellow line, which indicates that no passing or turning is allowed.
Multiple news outlets identified the two men who lost their lives in this Isle of Wight crash as brothers who served with the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office. John Edgar Mallory, 60, of Chester, VA, had recently retired. Earl Garnett Mallory III, 65, of North Chesterfield was still serving as a jail officer. Both were declared dead at the scene.
Troopers have filed a preliminary charge of reckless driving against the truck driver. He has been publicly identified as Walter Crocker Jr., and was charged despite suffering injuries severe enough to lead to his being flown to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for treatment.
While many consider driving through the agricultural communities of Western Tidewater a relaxing experience, no highway is every complete safe, During 2017, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles recorded 610 crashes in Isle of Wight County. Those wrecks resulted in four deaths and 241 injuries.
It is unclear how many of the crashes involved farm vehicles, but they can pose particular dangers. Trucks designated for agricultural use and specialized equipment like harvesters often move slower than other vehicles, and many are oversized. Too many are poorly maintained since they are generally not subject to the same inspections as commercial vehicles. Another problem is that agricultural workers often are not trained as truck drivers.
Proper training can lower the likelihood that a truck driver panics and oversteers after running onto a highway shoulder. My Virginia wrongful death attorney colleagues and I have written many times about avoiding overcorrection. Some of the best advice on this we have seen comes from the Florida’s driver manual, which tells people
- Stay calm!
- Hold the wheel firmly.
- Take your foot off the gas and do not slam on the brakes.
- Steer the car where desired.
- If necessary, steer the car to a safe place and stop.