Details were scarce the following morning, but local newspapers and television stations were reporting that a Portsmouth, Virginia (VA), police cruiser had struck and killed a pedestrian on the night of May 28, 2014. The fatal accident occurred shortly after 9 pm at the intersection of Portsmouth Boulevard and Woodstock Street.
WAVY-TV 10 noted that the police officer behind the wheel of cruiser involved in the deadly pedestrian crash was not responding to a call and was not using his emergency lights and siren. A fuller investigation and accident reconstruction will be needed to determine what caused the collision that led a man to lose his life.
Possible scenarios include speeding by the police officer, crossing against the light by the pedestrian and poor visibility. The last possibility merits particular consideration because the fatal accident happened at night and while strong thunderstorms were traveling through the region.
Even if the driver failed to see the man in the roadway, however, that would not automatically relieve the driver of liability. This is especially true if the pedestrian hit was in a crosswalk and crossing with a light. Low-visibility conditions place extra responsibilities on vehicle operators to lower their speed, increase their alertness and keep a good lookout.
As Virginia personal injury and wrongful death attorneys, my colleagues and I hear the excuse "I never even saw ..." from at-fault drivers practically every day. It never holds up. Drivers literally hold the health and lives of others in their hands. Meeting that obligation requires doing everything possible to ensure all potential accidents are spotted and avoided.