A moped rider suffered life-threatening injuries in Newport News, Virginia (VA), when he was struck by a driver who local police took into custody under suspicion of driving while intoxicated. The possible DWI crash happened on the I-64 overpass on Bland Boulevard a little after 10:30 pm on June 1, 2017. The Nightingale medevac helicopter airlifted the moped rider to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.
Neither details on how the collision occurred nor the kinds of injuries inflicted on the moped rider were not reported. It is also unclear whether the driver of the larger vehicle will be charged with DWI or another traffic violation.
It is obvious, however, that the person behind the wheel of the car or truck failed to share the road safely with a moped. Virginia law classifies mopeds as street-legal vehicles and grants moped riders “all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.” Further, mopeds are permitted on all local roads and state highways, being barred only from interstates. Since this wreck took place on Bland Boulevard, no argument can be made that the moped rider was automatically in violation of any law.
Drivers who encounter mopeds often wonder how they should respond. Florida’s public safety department offers these tips for sharing the road without increasing risks for wrecks that leave moped riders injured or dead:
- Check carefully before entering an intersection or changing lanes
- Understand that judging the speed and distance of a moped can be difficult
- Never pass with only one or two feet of space
- Reduce speed when passing, as wind gusts and pressure waves can knock over mopeds
This list highlights negligent acts that the driver involved in this Newport News crash could have committed that endangered the life of the moped rider. If evidence shows that the driver was actually intoxicated, that would explain the failure to share the road safely and also make the driver criminally responsible for injuring the rider.
Proof that the driver made an unintentional error or behaved reckless by driving drunk or while under the influence of drugs could also be used to support insurance claims or civil lawsuits for compensation and damages. Working with an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer would help the injured moped rider hold the driver accountable.
Update: The driver involved who hit the moped rider on Bland Boulevard in Newport News, VA, was charged with DWI and maiming, which indicates the injuries he inflicted are likely to be permanent and possibly disabling.