A collision involving a disabled minivan and a passing dump truck in Chesapeake, Virginia (VA), left one woman dead and three other people hospitalized with injuries. The fatal crash occurred near the intersection of South Military Highway and Heidi Drive at around 4:30 am on April 4, 2016.
The woman who lost her life had been changing a flat tire by the side of the highway, and two of the injured individuals were passengers sitting inside the van. The commercial truck driver also suffered injuries. Police investigators did not announce a cause for the deadly wreck, and no charges were filed within 24 hours of the crash. The woman who lost her life has been identified as 53-year-old Lorena Kelly.
Virginia law requires any driver approaching an accident or people working on a highway shoulder to slow down and, when possible, change lanes. This move over law is intended to protect road crews, law enforcement officials and emergency responders. Taking the accident-preventing actions also gives distressed drivers the time and space they need to do things like fix a flat. The tragedy in Chesapeake illustrates the worst of what can happen when approaching drivers do not move over.
Explanations for why the dump truck operator failed to see and avoid the disabled minivan could include falling asleep at the wheel, getting distracted by a GPS device or handheld device like a phone, and speeding, which could have left the truck driver little time to respond appropriately to an unexpected situation. Even if the commercial driver did not commit a traffic violation, the person could still be found negligent and liable for the purposes of paying wrongful death and personal injury claims.