Two passengers lost their lives and four other people suffered serious injuries when the pickup truck ran off Cold Harbor Road and hit a tree in Hanover County, Virginia (VA). The deceased victims were a 17-year-old high school senior and a 22-year-old man, both of whom had lived in Mechanicsville.
The investigation into the deadly wreck continued into the following Monday, as police were waiting to speak with each of the surviving passengers and the 20-year-old man who had been driving. Two causes for the fatal crash that authorities are looking into are alcohol use and distraction. All six people were riding in the extended cab of the pickup, and other evidence indicates that the group may have been celebrating the approaching birthday of the older passenger who died in the collision.
Carrying passengers has been shown repeatedly to distract young drivers, and the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol are not in dispute. If the investigators reconstructing this Hanover County accident learn that the young man behind the wheel was distracted, he could be found liable for paying personal injury claims and wrongful death judgements for acting negligently. A driver's duties to remain focused on operating safely and to keep his vehicle under control is always high.
A finding of drunk driving could also be interpreted as reckless driving, which could make the man behind the wheel of the pickup subject to paying punitive damages. The legal standard for acting recklessly behind the wheel is showing no regard for other people's health and safely. Since becoming impaired by alcohol clouds judgment and slows reaction time, DUI constitutes recklessness for making the person largely incapable of looking out for and protecting others.