A man died in Gloucester County, Virginia (VA), on the evening of January 2, 2022, when a teen driver struck him as he received roadside assistance from a good Samaritan. The fatal pedestrian crash happened near the intersection of Route 631 and Route 614, which is also known as Hickory Fork Road.
Virginia State Police received calls about the incident at 6:35 pm. Troopers’ preliminary investigation revealed that the deceased pedestrian was standing beside his car in a ditch along Hickory Fork Road. As the operator of an International Tractor truck attempted to pull the man’s car back onto the roadway, a third driver veered off the road and hit the man.
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The pedestrian died from his injuries after being transported to Riverside Regional Medical Center. State Police authorities confirmed charges are pending against the 19-year-old driver of the second car, who also went to the hospital for serious injuries. The truck operator was not hurt and is not considered to havecaused the crash in any way.
Continuation of a Deadly Trend
News of this first pedestrian death of 2022 on Virginia’s Middle Peninsula comes on the heels of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report showing 2021 to be one of the deadliest periods years on America’s roads. According to the Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First Half (January-June) of 2021, “An estimated 20,160 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the first half of 2021, up 18.4 percent over 2020.”
Federal analysts pointed to increases in speeding and other reckless behavior behind the wheel as reasons for the spike in traffic fatalities during a 12-month period when miles traveled per person actually dropped. It is unclear at this point what caused the teen driver to lose control and leave the roadway in Gloucester County, but driving too fast could have added to existing risks from slick pavement during a building winter storm throughout the day on January 2.
News reports describe the teen running off the road while trying to pass the truck that had been trying to pull the deceased pedestrian’s car out of the ditch. When weather conditions deteriorate, drivers have legally enforceable duties to slow down and exercise extra caution. When a driver fails to take those actions for the protection of others, the driver can also be held financially liable for causing personal injuries or wrongful deaths.