A crash near Wards Corner on the night of October 11, 2017, sent a pedestrian to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital with life-threatening injuries. The collision happened at the intersection of Granby Street and Maycox Avenue, and Norfolk Police received the call at 7:45 pm.
The driver of the SUV stopped and remained at the scene, but police did not immediately issue any charges. The intersection, two blocks south of E. Little Creek Road, is controlled by stoplights in all directions and marked with crosswalks at all corners. Investigators told a reporter from WAVY-TV 10 that they wanted to speak with witnesses and review any available traffic camera footage before deciding how to proceed.
The principal question police must answer is whether the pedestrian or the SUV driver had right of way on account of having a green light in his or her direction. Investigators will also need to determine whether the pedestrian was legally in the crosswalk while walking across the northbound lanes of Granby Street.
According to section 24.2-924 of the Virginia Code
(A)The driver of any vehicle on a highway shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian crossing such highway: (1) At any clearly marked crosswalk, whether at mid-block or at the end of any block … (B) B. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A, at intersections or crosswalks where the movement of traffic is being regulated by law-enforcement officers or traffic control devices, the driver shall yield according to the direction of the law-enforcement officer or device.
Violating the pedestrian’s right of way by running a red light and entering the crosswalk would make the SUV driver responsible for settling personal injury insurance claims or paying civil court awards. And it is also worth noting that when drivers do strike pedestrians for any reasons, deaths often occur. Statistics compiled by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration show that 5.376 U.S. pedestrian died in wrecks during 2015.
My Virginia personal injury law firm colleagues and I have represented many injured pedestrians. In a majority of those car and truck cases, the at-fault driver has tried to avoid responsibility by saying some version of “I never even saw the person I hit.” We never let that stand as an excuse because all drivers have legal duties to watch for people on foot at all times, to obey traffic signals and to yield right of way at crosswalks.