Recently, an 18-year-old man from Jefferson County died after a fiery one-vehicle crash on West Virginia Route 45. The man was driving a 2005 black Dodge, which for some unknown reason veered off to the side of the road and hit an embankment. Although the car then returned to the roadway, it hit the embankment once again and then flipped over onto its top. The Dodge then skidded another 355 feet before finally coming to a stop after it struck a guardrail.
Both occupants of the vehicle were trapped with severe injuries, but the Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department’s Medic 3 managed to free the passenger, a 23-year-old man. He was then flown by helicopter to Winchester Medical Center in Virginia. However, although the ambulance crew worked to put out the fire and free the driver of the car, they were unsuccessful. The young driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
Authorities are still investigating the cause of the crash, but speed is believed to be a factor. There is no mention of whether the conditions at the time, or drugs or alcohol, played a role as well. Until more information is known, one can only speculate as to what made the Dodge veer out of control — whether the driver simply lost control, suffered a seizure or other debilitating health problem, or had drugs or alcohol in his system.
However, what is unfortunately true is that drugs and alcohol play a large role in the number of vehicle crashes, not just in West Virginia but also around the country. In 2011, 91 people died as the result of drinking and driving, representing more than a quarter of all vehicle fatalities. Of those who died in drunk driving accidents, nine were under the age of 21, representing 17.3% of all under-21 fatalities in car accidents. That amounts to 4.9 fatalities per 100,000 and two fatalities for those under the age of 21 per 100,000 respectively. Those who were repeat offenders, with multiple drunk driving arrests, had in every situation a blood alcohol level above 0.15, as opposed to 0.8 to 0.14. Of those with blood alcohol levels of 0.15, 75 were killed in drunk driving accidents.
It is far too many, and those who are fortunate enough to not be killed still must contend with possibly injuring or killing other people, or at the very least, causing property damage. Those who are injured or who have lost loved ones in a drunk driving accident have the option of filing a lawsuit against the one responsible. They would argue that this person breached a duty of care, and the injury was the cause of the breach. If you are someone in this situation, contact a West Virginia car accident attorney as soon as possible.
The Wolfe Law Firm has been providing legal services for nearly 25 years. Located in Elkins, West Virginia, the firm provides services in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, bankruptcy, and mediation. If you are looking for an experienced West Virginia attorney, contact us today.