On July 31, 2009, an elderly man, 79, was switching lanes on Interstate 81 (I-81) southbound when he clipped the front of a tractor trailer and incited a crash involving three vehicles. This caused the driver of the truck to lose control and barrel across the median and northbound lanes of I-81. The truck did not stop there but continued up the hill on the side of road. The truck then ran for at least another 200 yards until it plowed into Rockingham Hall, a James Madison University dorm in Harrisonburg, Virginia (VA).
The driver of the tractor trailer sustained minor injuries, but was rushed to the hospital for treatment. The wreck caused roughly $50,000 worth of damage to the dorm, but luckily no one was occupying the facility at that time. The 79 year old driver was charged with reckless driving in the incident. It is safe to say that he was lucky no one was seriously injured in this matter as it could have much more disastrous with such unsafe driving.
Issues of driving by senior citizens in Virginia and across the nation have been a hot topic of debate. As folks live longer and stay healthy later in life, they want to enjoy the independence of having their own transportation in late old age. However, major crashes killing or maiming people where the at-fault driver is older scare many people. Not too long ago a woman jogging in my Larchmont neighborhood in Norfolk, VA with her child in a baby stroller was killed by a senior citizen behind the wheel. The death frightened people. There is not always clear evidence in these cases if the bad driving was caused by the age of the motorist, rather than just carelessness that a person of any age would have done. This terrible wreck at a university dorm is just the latest example of this issue.
About the Editors: Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan personal injury lawfirm (VA-NC law offices) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, as well as the Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY, who handle car, truck, railroad, and medical negligence cases and more.