A Richmond, Virginia (VA), driver who said he “failed to see” the pedestrian struck and fatally injured a 79-year-old man a little after sundown on October 18, 2017. The deadly crash happened at the intersection of Forest Hill Avenue and Sheila Lane at around 6:50 pm.
Multiple news reports identified the man who lost his life as Franklin M. Cram, who had lived at an address on Forest Hill Avenue. He initially survived the collision, but he passed away at a hospital the day after the crash.
According to Richmond Police, the driver had a green light at the T-intersection and the pedestrian was in the crosswalk. Investigators continue collecting information by phone at (804) 780-1000 and online at www.7801000.com, but police have announced their intention to file charges against the driver.
The facts suggest that the driver was making a turn and failed to yield right of way to the pedestrian. While people on foot should wait for a green light or a walk signal to step into a crosswalk, Virginia state law places a legal duty on drivers to wait for crosswalks to clear before they move through an intersection. The relevant paragraphs of section 46.2-924 of the Virginia Code state
- The driver of any vehicle on a highway shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian crossing such highway at any clearly marked crosswalk, whether at mid-block or at the end of any block; and
- The drivers of vehicles entering, crossing, or turning at intersections shall change their course, slow down, or stop if necessary to permit pedestrians to cross such intersections safely and expeditiously.
In part, this language protects slow-moving pedestrians who step into crosswalks while they have a walk signal but do not reach the opposite corner before lights change. Another reason for the language is to make sure that drivers scan all corners when attempting to turn.
Drivers who fail to appropriately yield right of way to pedestrians take a terrible toll on Virginia roads and highways. Crash reports compiled by the Department of Motor Vehicles showed that during 2015
- 78 pedestrians died when hit by motor vehicle.
- 1,718 pedestrians suffered injuries in crashes.
- Among all injury-causing or deadly wrecks involving pedestrians, 319 drivers were turning left and 215 were turning right.
My Virginia wrongful death attorney colleagues and I send our deepest condolences out to the family of the Richmond man who died after being hit by a car on Forest Hill Avenue. We urge all drivers to stay alert for people in crosswalks even when they believe they have the right of way.