A pedestrian went to the hospital in Virginia Beach, VA, with severe injuries after being struck by a driver who attempted, but failed, to flee the scene. The crash happened in the 2900 block of Shore Drive, and multiple people witnessed the collision.
Quoting a police press release, the Virginian-Pilot reported that 911 calls about the crash started coming in a little after 12:30 am on Saturday, June 12, 2021. EMS found the pedestrian lying in the roadway.
Police initially treated the incident as a hit and run because the driver involved did not stop to check on the victim. Witnesses, however, spotted the driver among the crowd that had gathered to watch the emergency response. It quickly became clear that the driver had pulled into a nearby parking lot, exited his vehicle and tried to blend in with innocent bystanders.
- A Virginia Personal Injury Attorney Discusses Nighttime Pedestrian Accidents
- When Can the Victim of a Car Crash in Virginia Sue for Punitive Damages?
- We Sue Drunk Drivers
Upon arrest, the 20-year-old driver was charged with maiming of another resulting from driving under the influence, DUI with an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and with a minor in the vehicle, underage possession of alcohol, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The suspect spent the weekend in jail while the investigation into the crash continued.
What the Charges Indicate
It is unclear from public reports whether the badly injured pedestrian had clear right of way, or even if the pedestrian was crossing Shore Drive at the time of the collision. The force of the impact may have knocked the pedestrian off a sidewalk, shoulder or median.
The area where the crash happened is heavily developed, with both sides of Shore Drive being lined with numerous bars, restaurants, condos and townhouses. Traffic is controlled with several closely spaced stop lights, and crosswalks are plentiful. When, where and why the collision occurred will ultimately determine whether the injured pedestrian can file and collect on insurance claims against the at-fault driver.
The preliminary list of charges, however, makes it clear that police believe the driver acted recklessly and could have prevented the crash. DUI maiming is charged when evidence shows a driver acted “in a manner so gross, wanton, and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life, [and] unintentionally causes the serious bodily injury of another person.” The applicable Virginia state statute further explains
As used in this section, "serious bodily injury" means bodily injury that involves substantial risk of death, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.
The elevated BAC charge also shows police officers’ belief that the driver accused of hitting the pedestrian on Shore Drive was very intoxicated and completely unsafe behind the wheel of a vehicle. Virginia enforces a legal BAC limit of 0.02 for drivers younger than 21. Law enforcement officials need to obtain a measured BAC of between 0.15 and 0.20 to issue a charge of driving with an elevated BAC.
Even a small degree of intoxication makes driving dangerous. Allegedly operating a vehicle at seven to ten times the legal limit practically ensures a bad outcome. The best things that can happen in the aftermath of this DUI crash are seeing the injured pedestrian recover fully and learning some other potentially reckless driver took the lesson to set down or hand over their car keys.