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Tractor trailer vs. motorcycle in deadly hit-and-run

When a semi truck shares the road with a motorcycle, both vehicles' operators must be extra vigilant about safety. The massive size differential between the two vehicles, as well as disparities in their abilities to stop and turn safely, can easily lead to trouble if sound driving is not prioritized. Unfortunately, concern for others isn't always first in the minds of all truck drivers, and this sad fact was underscored after a recent hit-and-run in Virginia.

The deadly tractor trailer accident happened on April 30, after a man riding a motorcycle on Interstate 95 in northern Virginia lost control of his bike. The 68-year-old man from Dumfries fell into the center lane of I-95, a route many Virginians know as exceptionally congested and busy. A tractor trailer then struck the fallen rider, but sped off from the scene instead of stopping to help or report the accident to authorities. Tragically, officials pronounced the motorcyclist dead at the scene.

An investigation into the crash closed-down a section of I-95 for a few hours that morning, with traffic backed-up nearly ten miles. The truck accident happened in the early morning hours, around 4:30 a.m., raising questions of truck driver fatigue. It was also raining at the time of the hit-and-run, which may help explain why the motorcyclist fell off his vehicle in the first place. Tiredness and weather conditions, though, are no excuse for fatally striking someone and then failing to stop.

The Virginia State Police are continuing to try and track down the truck's driver. They are actively seeking witnesses to come forward with any information they may have on the truck driver's identity. When the driver is caught, the surviving family members of the victim may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit if negligence is found to have been a factor in the man's death. If willful or wanton conduct, rather than just negligence, is evident in a truck hit-and-run, survivors may also be able to pursue punitive damages against a driver.

Source: NBC 4 Washington, "Motorcyclist killed, I-95 north jammed in VA," April 30, 2013

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