A crash in Loudoun County, Virginia (VA), on the morning of New Year’s Eve 2017 left a 66-year-old pedestrian from the town of Aldie dead and the driver involved facing multiple felony charges. The fatal collision happened near the intersection of Loudoun County Parkway and Dulles West Boulevard.
County police received the call about the crash in ab area southwest of Sterling just before 7:40 am on December 31. They determined that the pedestrian was walking south along the parkway when the driver struck him behind. The pedestrian died from his injuries at the scene, and authorities took the driver into custody.
News reports suggest the pedestrian was on the sidewalk or the wide, grassy shoulder when he was hit and killed. While driving onto a sidewalk or unpaved highway shoulder is illegal in almost all situations, the 38-year-old driver from Manassas currently faces charges only for driving under the influence and involuntary manslaughter.
Under section 18.2-36.1A of the Virginia Code, “Any person who, as a result of driving under the influence … unintentionally causes the death of another person, shall be guilty of involuntary manslaughter.” It is unclear from publicly available information whether the allegedly impaired driver in Loudoun County had been using drugs or alcohol, it only matters from a legal standpoint whether the driver was high or drunk enough to act negligently or recklessly behind the wheel.
Regardless of how the criminal charges are resolved, the family of the pedestrian who lost his life on Loudoun County Parkway likely have strong grounds for filing wrongful death claims against the accused drunk or drugged driver. All the evidence police collect in order to prosecute the DUI and manslaughter charges can also be used to substantiate insurance claims or to sue the driver in civil court.
The toll drivers who are under the influence take on other drivers, bike riders and pedestrians in Virginia is quite high. Even when DUI wrecks do not result in deaths, the injuries inflicted often leave innocent victims struggling with lifelong physical disabilities, intellectual deficits, psychological and emotional trauma, and financial difficulties from emergency medical treatment, time out of work and ongoing therapy.
My Virginia wrongful death attorney colleagues and I want all drivers in Virginia and across the country to make and keep a resolution to only drive sober during 2018. Setting down the keys after picking up a bottle or using drugs will save lives, prevent injuries and avoid legal and financial problems.