A woman crossing the street in Marion, Virginia (VA), suffered fatal injuries when a commercial truck struck her. The deadly pedestrian crash happened at the intersection of E. Main Street and S. Commerce Street just after 6 am on January 16, 2018.
The pedestrian initially survived the collision, but she was pronounced dead upon arriving at Smyth County Community Hospital. The truck driver remained at the scene and spoke with law enforcement.
Where the wreck happened, Main and Commerce streets come together at a T-intersection with stoplights in all directions. Crosswalk also connect all the corners. If the 49-year-old pedestrian was crossing with the light and in a crosswalk, the driver of the commercial truck would have legal responsibility for causing her death.
Under the laws of Virginia, drivers must watch for pedestrians at all times. Drivers also have explicit legal duties to yield right of way to pedestrians who are in crosswalks, to pedestrians who are crossing streets like Main or Commerce in Marion where the posted speed limit is below 35 mph, and when making turns or entering or leaving parking lots.
Officers with the Marion Police Department and troopers with the Virginia State Police are investigating the crash. No charges had been filed two days after the incident, but the decision whether to cite the truck driver with a traffic violation or to pursue a criminal case will depend largely on whether the pedestrian who lost her life clearly had right of way.
On its webpage devoted to tips on how drivers, pedestrians and bike riders can share the road safely, the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department reminds people behind the wheels of cars and trucks to
- Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.
- Slow down and obey the posted speed limit.
- Yield to pedestrians and cyclists when turning.
Doing each of those prevents many serious crashes, as illustrated by statistics compiled by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. During 2015, 1,718 pedestrians suffered injuries in wrecks in the state, and another 80 pedestrians died. The most common scenario for those collisions had the pedestrian crossing at an intersection with the signal in his or her favor.
My Virginia wrongful death attorney colleagues and I send our condolences out to the friends and family members of the pedestrian who lost her life in Marion. We also want all drivers to review the tips for avoiding collisions with pedestrians and to put them into practice immediately and consistently.