Two crashes at the same Norfolk, Virginia (VA), intersection less than 18 hours apart left one pedestrian seriously injured and another pedestrian dead. The nonfatal collision happened on the morning of April 4, 2018, at a time when the investigation into the deadly wreck was still ongoing.
Both crashes occurred in crosswalks at the intersection of West Little Creek Road and Newport Road in the Wards Corner section of the city. Norfolk police are collecting evidence on April 3’s fatal pedestrian crash for the commonwealth’s attorney and charges against the driver are likely. The second driver who was determined to be at-fault for causing the following morning’s crash has been charged with failing to yield right of way.
That alleged offense is spelled out in section 46.2-924 of the Virginia Code, which sets the following rules for when drivers must yield for pedestrians:
- At a clearly marked crosswalk,
- At corners at the end of a block, especially when there are sidewalks, and
- Where the speed limit is 35 mph or lower.
The intersection of W. Little Creek Road and Newport Avenue has crosswalks at all four corners, sidewalks long Little Creek and a posted speed limit of 35 mph, with speed limit signs clearly visible just past the intersection. In addition, stoplights control traffic on both Little Creek and Newport.
When cars or trucks hit pedestrians, the injuries tend to be severe. Elsewhere on our website, my Virginia personal injury and wrongful death attorney colleagues and I cite research showing that “that at least half of victims suffered injuries to their lower extremities. About 40 percent of pedestrian accident victims sustained injuries to their face, head, or neck. And 30 percent received injuries to their upper extremities. Many of the victims in the study had suffered multiple injuries.”
Pedestrian accidents also result in a high number of fatalities. During 2017, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles received reports of 1,608 crashes involving pedestrians across the state. Those wrecks killed 114 pedestrians, accounting for 13.5 percent of the traffic deaths in Virginia that year.
Sadly, pedestrian accidents appear to be becoming more deadly throughout the United States. A 2018 report from the Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that more than 5,900 pedestrians died in traffic crashes during 2017. Evidence suggests that drivers distracted by smartphones and GPS devices caused many of those deaths, but the real safety messages is that drivers much watch for and yield to people in crosswalks in all situations.