A head-on collision between a pickup truck and a car in the early morning hours of New Year's Day 2017 claimed the life of the man driving the smaller vehicle. State police say the pickup was heading the wrong way on Route 19 near the Route 58 interchange when it crashed into the car.
The pickup truck's driver survived the wreck with minor injuries. He currently faces charges for driving under the influence and manslaughter.
A few days before New Year's Eve, I called attention to a similar DUI incident that led to a fatal wrong-way crash in Chesterfield County, VA, near Richmond. Included with the description of that avoidable tragedy was information on arranging free sober rides home after celebrating the beginning of 2017. This needless loss of life in the southwestern corner of Virginia shows the irreversible consequences of declining opportunities to stay out of the driver's seat after drinking too much.
Alcohol can cause confusion of the sort that leaves people incapable of even realizing that they are heading into oncoming traffic. It also slows reaction time, meaning the person under the influence may not be able to prevent a crash even when they spot the danger. The only way to stop drunk driving is to set down the keys and either stay home or get a ride. My Virginia wrongful death attorney colleagues and I hope this is the year everyone finally makes those lifesaving choices every time.