A chain-reaction crash and subsequent vehicle fire on I-77 in Southwestern Virginia has left three people dead and two others badly injured. The deadly wreck occurred in Wythe County, VA, on the afternoon of May 10, 2015.
According to state police investigators, the crash began when a northbound FJ Cruiser ran across a grass median and collided with a southbound Camaro. A third car could not avoid the initial wreckage and added to the pileup before flames erupted. The man behind the wheel of the FJ Cruiser died at the scene of the wreck, and a mother and her year-old infant succumbed to injuries after being to transported to a local hospital. A man and his wife survived the wreck with serious, but unspecified, injuries.
Law enforcement officials do not know why the first driver lost control of his car and ran into the path of oncoming traffic. Possible explanations could include a medical emergency that caused him to lose consciousness, falling asleep behind the wheel due to fatigue, and having been drunk or stoned. An autopsy and crash reconstruction may provide answers, but the tragic loss of life and infliction of injuries cannot be undone.
Drivers have high legal duties to keep their cars and trucks under control and in their lanes at all times. When those duties are not met, the results can be fatal, as sadly happened near the town of Wytheville. Also, importantly, neither becoming suddenly ill nor experiencing a mechanical failure that should have been identified and fixed typically excuses an at-fault driver, or his or her estate, from having to pay insurance claims from crash victims.