A 58-year-old pedestrian suffered fatal injuries when a car struck him in Portsmouth, Virginia (VA), on the night of March 19, 2022. The deadly crash happened in the 2100 block of Airline Boulevard near the intersection of Nevada Street. After the crash, the driver fled the scene.
Portsmouth police responded to calls about the hit-and-run collision at 9:18 pm. They found the pedestrian critically injured and had him transported to a local hospital. Medical personnel could not save the crash victim.
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Police continued searching for the fleeing vehicle and its owner for days after the crash. They publicly released a description of the car as a 2008 Volkswagen Jetta and have asked anyone who may have information to share to call 1-888-LOCK-U-UP or to leave an anonymous tip at this website.
Negligent and Reckless Drivers Pose Deadly Threats to Pedestrians
During 2019, which is the most-recent year for which complete numbers are publicly available, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles received 1,242 reports of crashes involving pedestrians and cars, trucks or other vehicles. Those collisions, which included wrecks involving more than one person on foot, left 114 pedestrians dead and another 1,186 pedestrians with injuries serious enough to require medical treatment.
One way to read those statistics is that almost no pedestrians walk away unharmed when a driver strikes them. The explanation is simple. Pedestrians have none of the protections afforded by a car or truck. And when a vehicle hits a person while traveling at 25 or 35 or 60 miles per hour, the initial impact is inevitably followed by an equally traumatic fall to the ground after getting knocked into the air.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, researchers have examined the risks to pedestrians from motor vehicles. A summary of this work posted to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s website states
The average risk of severe injury for a pedestrian struck by a vehicle reaches 10 percent at an impact speed of 16 mph, 25 percent at 23 mph, 50 percent at 31 mph, 75 percent at 39 mph, and 90 percent at 46 mph. The average risk of death for a pedestrian reaches 10 percent at an impact speed of 23 mph, 25 percent at 32 mph, 50 percent at 42 mph, 75 percent at 50 mph, and 90 percent at 58 mph. Risks vary significantly by age. For example, the average risk of severe injury or death for a 70‐year old pedestrian struck by a car traveling at 25 mph is similar to the risk for a 30‐year‐old pedestrian struck at 35 mph.
Viewed strictly as a physics problem where force equals mass multiplied by the rate of speed, an almost one-ton vehicle crashing into a 58-year-old person on Airline Boulevard where the posted speed limit is 35 mph, the person on foot in Portsmouth would have very low odds of surviving. My Virginia Beach-based wrongful death attorney colleagues and I send our deepest condolences to the friends and family members of the man who was hit and killed.
If the driver caused the crash, they have a legal responsibility for settling wrongful death claims. Holding that individual directly accountable will prove impossible if the hit-and-run case goes unsolved. Should this unwelcome situation come to pass, family members of the deceased pedestrian could invoke uninsured motorist coverage. Speaking with an experienced and caring wrongful death lawyer will clarify how to do that.