Jessica Velvin Killed, 2 Injured in Petersburg, VA Truck Accident
Petersburg, VA -- January 31, 2017, Jessica Velvin was killed, two others were injured, in a dump truck accident after a truck ran through an intersection.
Petersburg Police officials released preliminary reports on the fatal crash which occurred along Route 460.
According to their investigations, a dump truck driver was traveling down Route 460 at the intersection of Courthouse Road. As he approached the traffic signal, reports say the truck driver "didn't see the light" and drove into the intersection.
As a result, the dump truck crashed into a car being driven by 23-year-old Jessica Velvin. This collision caused her car to spin out into oncoming traffic, where it hit one vehicle and was struck head-on by another. The car then careened into the bank of the nearby Blackwater Swamp.
Velvin, reportedly pregnant, suffered fatal injuries and died at the scene. Two other people involved in the wreck were taken to hospitals with non-critical injuries. It's unclear from which vehicles they came. The truck driver was not injured.
Authorities say the crash remains under investigation. They have not reported any potential charges or citations at this time.
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The reports I'm seeing have said that the dump truck driver in this crash "did not see the light" as he approached the intersection. This is absolutely not an excuse for running through an intersection. The most important duty that a professional truck driver owes to the general public is to pay attention to the road, adhere to traffic signals, and handle the vehicle responsibly. Commercial trucks are capable of severe damage, and this tragic accident is a perfect example of this.
So many times I've seen accidents where truck drivers say things like, "I couldn't see over the hill," or, "the sun was in my eyes." "I didn't see the traffic signal" has to be among the worst excuses for causing an accident. Along with staying under the speed limit, what more basic duty does any driver, commercial or otherwise, have on a road than to see stop signs and traffic lights? It would be like if I was pulled over for driving 100 mph and told the officer, "I didn't know I couldn't drive that fast."
Paying attention to and driving appropriately for the conditions of the road is the main responsibility of a commercial truck driver. Failing to do this one thing is dangerous and ruins lives. I appreciate the shock that must come with having played a role in an accident that takes the lives of others, which is about the only way to make sense of the truck driver's reported statements. As a coping mechanism, "I didn't see the traffic signal" makes sense; as a legal defense, it's the courtroom equivalent of "the dog ate my homework." It just doesn't fly.
Whenever someone is hurt or killed in a truck accident, it's imperative that the trucking company is held accountable for these actions. The victims and their families deserve to be compensated for the damages they sustain, and they have a right to file a claim against the negligent driver. By doing this, dangerous and irresponsible truck drivers can face consequences for their reckless decisions.
--Grossman Law Offices