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Wrong Way Driver Caused Deadly 164 Crash in Portsmouth, Say Police

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Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Wrong Way Driver Caused Deadly 164 Crash in Portsmouth, Say Police

By Griff O'Hanlon, Portsmouth Injury Lawyer

Head-on accidents are among the most serious kinds of wrecks we see on the highways of Hampton Roads and Virginia as well as in north eastern North Carolina.

Although it can be hard to imagine the circumstances in which a driver ends up traveling in the wrong direction, these kinds of wrecks occur more often than we might think. Given the powerful forces involved in head-on collisions, they frequently end up causing serious injuries or fatalities.


Over the weekend, a wrong-way crash left a woman dead and a man with serious injuries on 164 West (Western Freeway) between Towne Point Road and College Drive in the Western Branch area on the line between the cities of Suffolk and Portsmouth. reported this accident occurred early on Sunday morning. An initial investigation by Suffolk Police found the driver of a small SUV was going the wrong way. The driver then struck another vehicle head-on causing the accident in Portsmouth.

When officers arrived at the accident scene, they found a black Ford Escape, driven by a 38-year-old woman, and a Chrysler PT Cruiser, driven by a 25-year-old man. Both vehicles sustained heavy damage. The female driver of the SUV was declared dead at the accident scene. The man driving the Chrysler was seriously injured but is expected to survive, according to media reports. I hope he is able to make a speedy recovery.

A number of factors lead to wrong-way crashes.  Typically, they are more likely to occur late at night or in the early hours when it is dark and drivers may be more fatigued. The accident on 164 West occurred at 3:30 a.m.  As many as three-quarters of wrong-way crashes occur when it’s dark.

Alcohol and drugs are another major cause of these accidents. As many as 60 percent of wrong-way drivers are intoxicated at the time of their accident, according to statistics.

Age appears to be another significant factor in wrong-way crashes. In wrong way crashes involving drivers who were not intoxicated, a significant proportion were over 65.

The federal government’s National Transportation Safety Board looked into wrong-way driving in 2013.

“Wrong-way collisions occur relatively infrequently, accounting for only about 3 percent of accidents on high-speed divided highways, but they are much more likely to result in fatal and serious injuries than are other types of highway accidents,” the report stated.

The report called for a number of measures to be explored including better lighting and signing at exit ramps to mark the wrong way, GPS wrong way navigational alerts and investment in alcohol detection technology systems.

If you have been injured by a wrong-way driver or a driver who crosses a center line, or if you have lost a loved one in a wreck, call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at 757.455.0077 for a free consultation.


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John Cooper

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.

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Jim Hurley

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.

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Bill O’mara

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.

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