After an 81-year-old driver failed to stop for a red light at the intersection of Route 7/Leesburg Pike and Towlston Road in Fairfax County, Virginia (VA), a motorcycle rider lost his life and three other people sustained injuries. The fatal red light-running crash happened near the town of Great Falls on the afternoon of October 18, 2016.
Witnesses told police that the elderly driver never slowed before entering the intersection against the light. When she struck the motorcyclist, the man flew from his bike and landed on the hood of a second car. He died at the scene.
The at-fault driver also struck another car, which set the stage for yet one more crash. Three people in those other cars required hospital treatment, but all are expected to recover.
Police intend to file charges against the red light runner. They did not tell reporters why they believe the woman ignored the stop signal, but they did note that alcohol use did not appear to be a factor. Perhaps the woman was temporarily blinded by sun glare, or maybe she became distracted by a smartphone or GPS device. Mental confusion may also be to blame, as older drivers can be prone to taking their mind off the task of controlling their vehicles and to responding inappropriately to changes in traffic flows.
All drivers must watch for and obey red lights and stop signs. When they do not, for any reason, others' live are put in danger.