Two Henrico County, Virginia (VA), children wound up hospitalized with serious injuries after an SUV ran off an icy road and struck them as they were sledding. The unusual pedestrian crash happened at around 5:40 pm on January 6, 2018, two days after a snow storm and the onset of near-zero temperatures.
The SUV went off the side Twin Hickory Lake Drive in the community of Glen Allen before flipping over and rolling down a hill. The injured children were taken to VCU Medical Center in Richmond for emergency medical treatment, but news reports do not include details on how they were hurt or whether they are expected to make full recoveries.
The investigation into the wreck continued through the following weekend, with Henrico County police giving no indication of whether they intended to charge the SUV driver who ran off Twin Hickory Lake Drive and collided with the children. A possible offense could be driving too fast for highway and traffic conditions. Under section 46.2-861 of the Virginia Code, “A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who exceeds a reasonable speed under the circumstances and traffic conditions existing at the time, regardless of any posted speed limit.”
The speed limit in the area of the crash is 35 mph, but snow and ice on the roadway would demand driving at a much lower speed. One of the most important pieces of advice the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration gives on its Winter Driving Tips webpage is to “drive slowly. It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick or snow-covered surface. On the road, increase your following distance enough so that you’ll have plenty of time to stop for vehicles ahead of you.”
The agency also advises
- Do not text or engage in any activities that may distract you while driving.
- Obey all posted speed limits, but drive even slower if necessary for weather conditions.
- Drive sober. Alcohol and drugs impair perception, judgment, motor skills, and memory -- the skills critical for safe and responsible driving.
My Virginia personal injury law firm colleagues and I have been struggling to dig out from the same snowfall and record low temps that affected the Richmond area. We urge all drivers in the Tidewater region and along the East Coast to exercise extra caution, even after the ice melts. We also wish the children who were hit and hurt by the out-of-control full and rapid returns to health.