A hit-and-run accident left a 15-year-old dead beside Route 47 in Wood County, West Virginia (WV), on the night of September 8, 2014. The teen victim was not discovered until the following morning because the person who caused the fatal collision fled the scene.



Police managed to identify and arrest a suspect on September 10, thanks to reports from two independent witnesses. The man taken into custody for striking the boy, who had been riding a bicycle near the interchange with U.S. 50 on the outskirts of Parkersburg, now faces charges of causing a death, failing to render aid, not reporting an accident and leaving the scene.

Regardless of how these criminal charges get resolved, this fatal hit-and-run collision highlights two important lessons for all people. The first is that no one involved in a crash should take off before law enforcement officials and emergency responders arrive. Checking on and, when possible, helping injured victims is required by law and demanded by morality and ethics.

Second, information from people who either saw or learned about the accident played invaluable roles in making it possible to hold the responsible person accountable. My Virginia personal injury and wrongful death law firm colleagues and I know that tracking down hit-and-run drivers is difficult. And when those individuals remain unidentified, victims can suffer twice by having to bear the full financial costs of their crash-related medical treatments and lost earnings.