A collision on High Street in Portsmouth, Virginia (VA), left a scooter rider with fatal head injuries. The deadly crash happened just after noon on April 24, 2017, and police suspect a hit and run.
News reports indicate that crash investigators have identified the occupants of a white or silver Ford pickup truck as witnesses. Those people and anyone else who saw the incident are being asked to call Portsmouth Police at (757) 393-8013 or to share information confidentially through the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP (562-5887).
The people in the pickup have not been called suspects, but it does appear that a hit-and-run driver left the scene of the crash. Emergency responders found the scooter driver unconscious, and she was declared dead when she arrived at the hospital. Developing evidence of who was at fault is important and would assist the deceased driver’s family members with filing wrongful death insurance claims.
Few studies have been done to determine which factors are unique to scooter and moped crashes. One of the largest, an analysis of some 5,600 moped crashes in Florida between 2002 and 2008 that was reported in the July 2011 Journal of Trauma, revealed that
- 18 percent resulted in deaths to the riders.
- The most-severe wrecks occurred on city roads with three or more lanes.
- Cloudy and rainy weather were associated with more-serious crashes.
- Operating a moped on a street with a posted speed limit of greater than 30 mph doubled a rider’s risk for severe injury.
The scooter crash in Portsmouth meets all of those criteria. It rained heavily that day, and the stretch of High Street where the scooter rider wrecked has four lanes and a speed limit of 30 mph.
As for why the woman suffered fatal head injuries, a National Highway Transportation Safety Administration pamphlet titled Anatomy of a Motorcycle Crash explains that outcome in terms that apply equally to mopeds and scooters:
A motorcycle lacks the crashworthiness and occupant protection characteristics of an automobile. An automobile has more weight and bulk than a motorcycle. It has door beams, a roof, airbags, and seat belts. It is also more stable because it is on four wheels. Because of its size, an automobile is easier to see. What a motorcycle sacrifices in weight, bulk, and other crashworthiness characteristics is somewhat offset by its agility, maneuverability, ability to stop quickly, and ability to swerve quickly when necessary.
Consulting with an experienced Virginia wrongful death attorney who has experience representing victims of scooter and moped crashes will help the family of the woman who died in Portsmouth stay up to date on the investigation and deal with insurance company representatives.