A female pedestrian died from injuries she suffered in an early morning crash in Hampton, Virginia (VA). The at-fault driver fled the scene of the fatal wreck in the 400 block of Woodview Lane, and police are asking anyone who knows him or the whereabouts of the 2008 cream-colored Dodge Charger he was driving to call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP (888-562-5887).
The hit-and-run collision happened at around 2 am on April 22, 2017. The victim initially survived with critical injuries, but she passed away at the hospital later in the day. The man identified as being at fault is facing arrest on a warrant for felony hit and run.
According to section 46.2-894 of the Virginia Code, a driver can be convicted of a fifth-degree felony for failing to stop at the scene of any accident with injuries, to alert police and contact emergency medical personnel, and, when possible, to “render reasonable assistance to any person injured in such accident, including taking such injured person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital if it is apparent that medical treatment is necessary or is requested by the injured person.”
Sadly, growing numbers of drivers all across the United States are neglecting their legal duties after getting involved in a crash with another vehicle or pedestrian. In 2017, the Insurance Information Institute reported
The number of fatal hit and run crashes has been rising since 2009, according to a USA Today analysis based on NHTSA data. In 2009 there were 1,274 fatal hit and run crashes, 1,393 in 2010 and 1,449 in 2011. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said that about one in five pedestrian fatalities were caused by hit and run drivers and 60 percent of all hit and run deaths were among pedestrians.
In addition to leaving people hurt and, sometimes, dying, a hit-and-run driver avoids the legal obligation to share insurance and personal contact information. Language in the Virginia statute quoted above requires a driver who crashes to “report his name, address, driver’s license number, and vehicle registration number forthwith to the State Police or local law-enforcement agency, to the person struck and injured if such person appears to be capable of understanding and retaining the information, or to the driver or some other occupant of the vehicle collided with or to the custodian of other damaged property.”
When that does not happen, accident victims may have to pay the full costs of their own medical bills, burial costs and other crash-related expenses. Uninsured motorist coverage can defray some of those unjust costs, but the wrong person -- the innocent victim -- is still paying.
My Virginia wrongful death law firm colleagues and I hope law enforcement quickly locate the Hampton hit-and-run driver and take him into custody. Justice for the pedestrian who lost her life and for her family demands it.