I am here to help you in your time of need.- Will Dudley
Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers
Wreck and Fire in Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel Injures Four
We saw disturbing scenes at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) over the weekend when a crash and a fire closed the tunnel for hours.
As smoke filled the tunnel, terrified drivers got out and walked to flee the harmful fumes.
Nevertheless, 15 people were treated for smoke inhalation on Saturday night, according to Virginia State Police. Four people were taken to a local hospital. There had been no update on their conditions as of Monday morning.
Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) closed down the HRBT between Hampton and Norfolk in both directions for hours. Eastbound driver were detoured to at Mallory Street in Hampton and westbound traffic at 4th View Street in Norfolk.
The westbound tube was reopened just before 11 p.m. The eastbound tube reopened about 45 minutes after that.
The Daily Press reported that the crash occurred when a Volkswagen Passat rear-ended a 2015 Acura. Both cars then caught on fire.
According to media reports, about 35 vehicles were in the tunnel when the fire occurred, and about 70 to 80 people had to be evacuated from the tunnel. Pictures posted to social media showed people walking out of the tunnel and damage was reported inside.
I have written previously about how the many bridges and tunnels in and around Hampton Roads is a recipe for chaos and accidents. This incident illustrates the particular dangers of a vehicle fire in a tunnel.
It makes sense to avoid the HRBT if you can and consider as an alternative the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel which is usually quieter. If you are driving in any of the bottlenecks in Hampton Roads, you should make sure to give the car in front of you plenty of room and don’t drive distracted. There are other rules such as not changing lanes in the tunnel.
When accidents happen in tunnels they can be very serious and cause massive disruption as we saw on Saturday night. We hope those people who were hurt make a speedy recovery.
If you or a loved one is injured due to a crash caused by another driver, you may have grounds to file a claim against that driver’s insurance policy. Call us for help in making a claim at (757) 455-0077.
John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.
Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.
Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.
Cooper Hurley awards three $2,000 college scholarships annually to high school seniors in the Tidewater and Eastern Shore areas of Virginia. Eligible students can submit an essay of 500 to 1,000 words on the subject of Distracted Driving. We established this program to aid worthy scholars and to raise awareness of the tragic consequences of distracted driving, which we encounter too often in our practice.