A short police pursuit that began in Chesapeake, Virginia (VA), ended in Norfolk with five people injured in a crash at the intersection of East Princess Anne Road and Tidewater Drive. The most seriously injured person was the innocent driver of a car struck by the fleeing suspect.
According to police, the chase started a near Bainbridge Boulevard and Chesapeake Drive around 5:10 pm. Less than 10 minutes later, the person behind the wheel of a Ford Explore ran a red light on Tidewater Drive and collided with a Dodge Charger that had entered the intersection legally. News reports do not include information on why police first attempted to pull over the Ford Explorer.
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The fleeing driver then attempted to escape on foot, but officers apprehended them. Four passengers in the Ford Explorer sustained minor injuries, and the sole occupant of the Dodge Charger was taken to the hospital with what officials described as “serious injuries.”
Fleeing From a Traffic Stop Creates Serious Dangers
Section 46.2-817 of the Virginia Code states, “Any person who, having received a visible or audible signal from any law-enforcement officer to bring his motor vehicle to a stop, drives such motor vehicle in a willful and wanton disregard of such signal or who attempts to escape or elude such law-enforcement officer whether on foot, in the vehicle, or by any other means, is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.”
Over and above the criminal charge specified in that law, the statute exists to protect other drivers and pedestrians from a crash such as the one that happened in Norfolk. A driver who is attempting to elude police is highly likely to put others in danger by ignoring additional rules such as stopping at red lights. That particular offense is covered by section 46.2-833 of the Virginia Code.
My Virginia Beach-based personal injury law firm colleagues and I wish the innocent person who would up hospitalized due the fleeing driver’s actions a full and rapid recovery. In some ways, it is good news more people were not harmed. The President’s Day 2022 federal holiday surely reduced traffic—and potential targets for collisions—at what would have been evening rush hour along the normally heavily traveled Chesapeake Boulevard, Princess Anne Road and Tidewater Drive.
As a final note, the fleeing driver very likely has liability for compensating the person in the Dodge Charger. If that is determined to be true but the at-fault driver lacks insurance, the injured victim could access the uninsured motorist coverage provisions of their own policy. Consulting with a knowledgeable and experienced Virginia plaintiff’s attorney would provide valuable information on navigating that process.