Fleeing the scene of an auto accident is a serious offense in Virginia. For the 40-year-old man who allegedly struck a bicyclist on September 14 in Virginia Beach, further police investigation will reveal the causes of the car crash, which will in turn determine punishment.

The incident occurred on a Friday night, around the intersection of Sykes Avenue and Virginia Boulevard in Fairfax County. According to police, the bicyclist was riding west on Virginia Boulevard, headed in the same direction as a nearby motorist. The car hit the bicycle and its rider from behind, but instead of stopping, the vehicle quickly sped away from the scene.

Transported to a local hospital, the cyclist sustained life-threatening injuries as a result of the impact, and was later in critical condition. According to the American Hospital Association, critical condition involves unstable vital signs and unfavorable indicators, as well as a possible unconscious state of a patient.

Hit-and-run accidents that result in such grave prognoses merit thorough investigation by authorities. In this accident, authorities have already uncovered details that led to charges of felony hit and run, maiming and driving without an operator’s license. The driver also faces charges of second offense DUI. For now, the driver remains without bond at a jail in Virginia Beach.

In Virginia, state law requires drivers and passengers to report car accidents in which they are involved. Further legal obligation involves stopping near the site of the crash and reporting any injuries, as well as informing state or local police of driver’s license numbers, vehicle registration numbers and other necessary details.

Hit and runs, of course, are made even more frightening for victims if they discover drunk driving played a role. If the driver in this incident’s DUI offense is his second in five years, the man will likely face more time in jail.

Source: Daily Press, “Virginia Beach man charged in hit-and-run accident,” Tyra M. Vaughn, Sept. 18, 2012