Hit and Run Driver Injures Man in Wheelchair in Newport News
By Jim Hurley, Newport News Personal Injury Attorney
An accident in Newport News in which a man in a wheelchair was struck and injured by a hit-and-run driver has again highlighted the dangers pedestrians face in urban Hampton Roads.
Newport News police confirmed a man in a wheelchair was hit by a red Ford Mustang Wednesday just after 8 a.m. close to the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Peninsula Drive.
Lou Thurston, a spokesman for Newport News Police, said the 62-year-old victim was on the sidewalk, with his leg extended onto out into the road, when the car struck him. He received a leg injury in the accident, according to media reports. Witnesses said the driver who hit the man stopped, and then drove away from the accident scene.
As a personal injury lawyer who represents people who have been hurt in Newport News, I am appalled by the details of this accident. People in wheelchairs are particularly vulnerable and this victim could have been seriously injured.
There is little evidence that the highways of Hampton Roads are becoming safer for pedestrians. A report released this week highlighted a spike in accidents involving pedestrians last year.
The report produced by the Governors Highway Safety Association, an organization that represents governors’ highway safety offices, estimates pedestrian deaths rose as much as 10 percent last year.
The report by Richard Retting and Dr. Heather Rothenberg of Sam Schwartz Consulting followed an analysis of preliminary data reported by all 50 state highway safety agencies and the District of Columbia for the first six months of 2015.
Parts of Hampton Roads such as the Peninsula have seen a number of serious accidents involving wheelchairs in recent years. In 2011, a man in a wheelchair was killed crossing Mercury Boulevard in Hampton, the Daily Press reported.
A wheelchair-bound woman in Suffolk was killed during bad weather. In 1999, a woman in a wheelchair was struck and killed by a school bus at the intersection of Oyster Point Road and Jefferson Avenue in Newport News.
Drivers have a responsibility to look out for pedestrians. They should be extra careful when they see vulnerable people such as the elderly, the disabled and children. Pedestrians have rights, particularly when they are on sidewalks or crosswalks. See this article about the rights of pedestrians in Virginia. If you have been hurt by the actions of a driver, call us for a free consultation at (757) 455-0077 or see CooperHurley.com.