A pickup truck driver struck and killed a woman in Fairfax County, Virginia (VA), on the afternoon of August 15, 2017. The fatal crash appears to have involved another vehicle, though police investigators could not share many confirmed facts with reporters.
The woman, who died at the scene, appears to have been checking her home mailbox at around 2:45 pm when the pickup veered right and traveled through a bike lane and onto her lawn. The woman who lost her life had lived in an unincorporated section of Fairfax County, west of Alexandria and southeast of Springfield.
Police suspect the man behind the wheel of the pickup experienced a medical emergency before losing control of his vehicle on Beulah Street south of the intersection with the Franconia-Springfield Parkway. No details on the actions of, or possible injuries to, the person driving the other vehicle that stopped at the crash site were available.
The pickup truck driver went to the hospital with minor injuries. It is unclear if he will face charges in connection with this fatal pedestrian crash. Even if he did have a seizure or briefly lose consciousness, he could still be found responsible for failing to stay in his lane and for taking the woman’s life.
A Virginia Department of Transportation publication titled Sharing the Road in Virginia repeats two reminders several times:
- Motorists should stay in their lanes and not swerve into bike lanes.
- Before crossing a bike lane to turn, scan for bicyclists to the right and rear.
Breaking those rules can earn a driver a ticket and make him or her responsible for paying compensation and damages to any bike rider or pedestrian injured or killed by the act of negligence. And, too often, leaving the roadway proves fatal. According to the Department of Motor Vehicle’s 2015 Traffic Crash Facts,
- 78 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes during 2015, accounting for 10.4 percent of all traffic fatalities on Virginia Roads and highways, and
- 1,718 pedestrians were injured in motor vehicle crashes.
My Virginia wrongful death law firm colleagues want all drivers to watch out for, yield right of way to, and give plenty of space to pedestrians. Tragedies like this one off Beulah Street in Fairfax County can often be prevented when drivers simply pay more attention to their steering and the road ahead. Our deepest condolences go out to the friends and family of the woman who lost her life.