The 37-year-old SUV driver who hit two women in a Huntington, West Virginia Walmart parking lot appears to be using distracted driving as the excuse behind the pedestrian accident. Police, however, have charged the driver with DUI involving drugs causing serious injury and reckless driving causing serious bodily injury. His bond was set at $105,000.
According to police reports, two women, who are in their sixties, were walking in a crosswalk in front of the store’s entrance, preparing to go inside when they were hit by a white Ford Expedition. Witnesses to the accident say the driver was talking on his cell phone and speeding when he hit the victims.
The two women were transported to St. Mary's Medical Center. One of the victims is listed in critical condition, with severe head trauma and cranial fractures. The other victim is listed in stable condition.
According to the officer who responded to the crash scene, the SUV driver said he was talking on his cell phone and looking into the store when he slammed into the two victims. The officer classified the driver’s actions as inconsistent, noting that he would go from acting aggressive and loud to a mellow state. He also said at one point he was very tired and needed to lie down, but then quickly became very alert.
The accident report also noted that the driver’s pupils were dilated and that he was “sweating profusely” despite being in a controlled environment. He did admit to the officer that he has a prescription opioid addiction. A warrant was obtained for a blood test after he refused to submit to a field sobriety test. The officer also noted that the driver showed no concern or empathy for the two severely injured victims.
Although distracted driving may have played a minor role in this car accident, it appears that drugged driving may be the primary cause of the crash. Car crashes caused by people who are driving under the influence of drugs have spiked as the drug epidemic has spread across the country.
Under Virginia law, as in most states, a jury can find a drugged driver who caused an accident that injures or kills someone guilty of conscious disregard and order that driver liable for punitive damages for his or her actions.
If you have been injured in a crash caused by a drugged or drunk driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and loss and should contact a skilled Virginia personal injury attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have. Our personal injury firm also offers a free car accident injury resource guide which every accident victim should read before speaking with an insurance company.