A three-vehicle wreck in James City County, Virginia (VA), killed two drivers and sent six people to hospitals with serious injuries. The fatal crash at the intersection of Monticello Avenue and Ironbound Road on the Williamsburg city line happened just before 9 pm on May 5, 2017.
Virginia State Police continue investigating, but preliminary findings indicate that the driver of a Dodge Avenger caused the deadly collision by entering the intersection from Monticello Road at a high rate of speed. City police officers told reporters that the at-fault driver had fled an attempted traffic stop minutes before causing the crash. It is unclear whether a pursuit was in progress or if the man behind the wheel of the Dodge ran a red light.
What is known is that the Dodge T-boned a van and that one of those vehicles spun into a nearby Mercedes-Benz. The at-fault driver and the man driving the van died at the scene, Two children in the Dodge, two children in the van, a woman in the van and the driver of the Mercedes-Benz suffered injuries that were not considered life-threatening.
All four corners of the intersection where the fatal wreck happened are controlled by stoplights. Even if the man who caused the collision did not pass through a red light illegally, he likely violated the van driver’s right of way. Crash researchers call such collisions “crossing path crashes at signalized intersections” and attribute many fatalities to such incidents. According to a National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) analysis of red light violation data, 46 percent of red light runners caught on camera were exceeding the speed limit.
Speeding itself is a significant risk factor for deadly crashes, especially on state highways like Monticello Avenue and Ironbound Road. A NHTSA fact sheet on speeding reports that in 2014, nearly 30 percent of traffic fatalities (9,262/32,675) were speeding-related. Among those incident, only 13 percent happened on interstates.
Speeding and violating right of way, if proven, would make the driver of the Dodge negligent or reckless and responsible for causing the deaths and injuries in James City County. Those facts would give the injured victims and the family of the deceased van driver the legal rights to file personal injury and wrongful death claims against the Dodge driver’s insurance policy. That policy will remain in effect until all legitimate claims are resolved, and working with an experienced and empathetic Virginia plaintiff’s attorney will help the victims deal with the insurance company.