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DUI crash leaves 1 dead in Sterling

Sometimes Virginia Beach residents get injured or killed in an auto collision and there's nothing they could have done to avoid it. This was the case in a fatal collision that happened on a recent Friday evening in Sterling. The crash left one man dead after a car drove into the parked vehicle he was sitting in.

According to authorities, a 39-year-old man was driving under the influence of alcohol in a Dodge Ram pickup when he lost control of the vehicle and struck the 29-year-old victim. Police reports initially indicated that the victim was a passenger in the Ram, but later reports showed that the victim was inside the parked car.

Drunk driver pleads guilty to injuring 2 bicyclists

A drunk driver struck and injured two people on bicycles last spring. She recently pleaded guilty in court regarding the incident. The 38-year-old woman pleaded guilty to charges of DUI causing permanent injuries. As a result of the plea, prosecutors will seek a maximum prison term that won't exceed five years. The court will sentence her on March 7, 2018.

The accident at issue in this case happened on May 14, 2017, at approximately 2 a.m., along 19th street, not far from the Virginia Beach Convention Center. According to legal documents, a police officer witnessed the woman speeding just before the incident. The officer was driving on the opposite side of the road when he witnessed the woman driving in her 2002 Nissan. The officer turned around to follow the woman when he discovered two women on the ground and saw a bicycle being dragged by the Nissan.

The cautious motorcyclist is the one who survives

Did you know that 80 percent of motorcycle accidents reported to law enforcement involve an injury or death? This horrifying statistic can only be interpreted to mean one thing: You need to do everything humanly possible to avoid a collision while you're riding your motorcycle, and you need to wear all the appropriate safety equipment.

To help you in your motorcycle safety endeavors, you are encouraged to use your head and stay cautious by employing the following advice:

  • Put your safety gear on: Wear your motorcycle pants, motorcycle jacket, gloves, helmet, boots and so forth. These are important and recommended because they can prevent fatal and catastrophic injuries in many cases.
  • Increase your visibility: Be as visible as possible by wearing bright colors, using your headlight during daytime hours and avoiding the blind spots of cars and big trucks.
  • Get a helmet that protects your face: Chin and facial injuries are some of the most common in fatal and catastrophic motorcycle accidents -- that is, if the motorcyclist fails to protect his or her face with a full-face helmet. The protection of the front of your head is just as important as the protection of the back and top of your head.
  • Use your noggin: Not only do you want to protect your head with a helmet, but you also want to use your head. Stay alert, stay attentive and use your common sense to stay cautious on the road. Good decisions save lives when you're riding on a motorcycle.
  • Don't drink and bike, ever: Even if you just drink half a beer, it's a very bad idea to get on your motorcycle. Avoiding drinking and biking completely could be one of the best decisions you ever make.

Motorcyclist killed by drunk driver in Colonial Beach

A sport utility driver struck and killed a motorcyclist last week in Colonial Beach. Police say that the 44-year-old female who was driving the SUV was intoxicated at the time of the crash. She has since been charged with DUI and involuntary manslaughter.

The accident happened during the early morning hours of Nov. 10. Following the collision, emergency responders arrived on scene. The SUV driver escaped uninjured, but the 47-year-old motorcyclist was catastrophically injured. They rushed the man to a nearby hospital but physicians were unable to save him. He was pronounced dead at approximately 2:43 a.m., just a short time after the collision occurred.

Services to be held for Coast Guard member killed by drunk driver

New Jersey man died in a head-on collision on Nov. 4 in Virginia Beach. The collision was caused by an allegedly drunk driver. According to police, the 25-year-old woman who caused the crash was intoxicated with an open container of alcohol in the car. She was driving the wrong way down the road when the accident happened.

The man who died was a member of the Coast Guard. Family and friends gathered to attend his services last weekend, and more services are planned for Nov. 25 in New Jersey. Relatives and friends want to spread the message far and wide so that no one misses the funeral.

Television star arrested and accused of DUI in fatal crash

When the rich and famous get into trouble with the law, it makes the headlines and everyone finds out about it. Being rich and famous, however, will not make things any easier on an accused person -- especially if the celebrity accused of a crime caused a fatal drunk driving crash.

Unfortunately, this is precisely what has happened in a recent fatal automobile crash. Police say that a reality television star from the series "Little Women: Atlanta" was operating her vehicle while intoxicated in Virginia Beach last weekend. Apparently, the starlet, Melissa Hancock -- who is known for her role as a height-challenged woman in the series -- chose to endanger other drivers rather than call a taxi to drive home after drinking Sunday night.

3 practices to prevent motorcycle accidents

The first rule of being a motorcyclist is to avoid getting into a crash at all times. Although you can't protect yourself from the threat of motorcycle-related injuries, there are a lot of tricks and tips that Virginia motorcyclists can employ to dramatically reduce the risk of getting into a collision.

Here are three motorcycle accident prevention strategies that you might not have thought of before:

Hit-and-run victims must find the driver who caused the accident

Can you imagine being hit by a motorist, and then -- while you're injured and lying in the street -- you watch the motorist drive away without offering you assistance? This is not only unethical, but it's also unlawful.

If a driver strikes someone -- and especially if he or she causes an injury -- the driver has a legal obligation to stop, assist the injured parties and wait for police. Failing to do so can lead to the driver's eventual arrest. Following arrest, the driver might liable to pay for any injuries and damages that were his or her fault. That said, if the driver successfully escapes the scene without being identified, justice cannot be served.

Avoid pedestrian versus car accidents with these tips

It's great to go for an evening walk after work -- good for your health and good for your stress levels. However, it's also dangerous to be a pedestrian in the modern world where many people are driving heavy automobiles and not keeping their eyes on the road as they should.

Here are some tips that every Virginia Beach pedestrian should follow in order to stay safe and avoid getting hit by an automobile:

  • Only use crosswalks: If you have to walk a long way to get to an intersection or crosswalk, do it. Most pedestrian accidents happen when walkers attempt to cross the roadway in a place where drivers aren't expecting to find a person on foot.
  • Take care around buses: For Virginia Beach residents who regularly use public transportation, it might be tempting to walk in front of a bus after exiting it -- especially if the bus driver is taking his or her her time to get moving. However, this is dangerous as bus drivers may not notice you.
  • Keep looking for traffic: Look both ways, look again and keep looking as you make your way across the street. You never know when a vehicle might suddenly show up and hit you. If you weren't looking continuously, it could seem like it came out of nowhere.
  • Don't expect drivers to follow the rules: Sure, you had the right of way. Sure, the driver broke the law when he or she struck you. Yes, you have a strong claim to pursue financial justice in court. However, you would much rather be injury-free and alive than being on the right side of the law. Don't expect drivers to follow the rules of the road and always play it extra safe when you're walking around vehicle traffic.

Semitrucks and underride guards: It's time to change the law

Nearly all 18-wheelers are equipped with underride guards on the backs of their trailers. You've probably seen them. They're the metal grates that extend down close to the ground on the backs of semitrucks. These underride guards prevent vehicles from getting stuck under the truck in rearward collisions.

Underride guards are barriers that prevent fatalities in truck crashes when passenger vehicles collide with the backs of 18-wheelers. However, these guards aren't present on the sides of semitrucks. In fact, although there are rules and regulations that support the use of rear underride guards, there are no rules and regulations to support the use of side underride guards. When cars crash into the sides of trailers on semitrucks, their passengers and drivers are at risk of decapitation or suffering other catastrophic injuries.

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The Dickerson & Smith Law Group
115 S. Lynnhaven Road
Suite 100
Virginia Beach, VA 23452

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