SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A woman was killed earlier this week in Virginia after stepping out of a car on the highway and into the path of a tractor-trailer.
She was also holding a 3-year-old child, who suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries.
The accident, which involved three tractor-trailers and a sedan, occurred in Spotsylvania County on Wednesday morning at around 5:11 a.m.. Traffic was shut down for several hours afterward.
Authorities with the Virginia State Police said a 2005 Honda Accord was traveling south on I-95 when it ran off the left side of the roadway and collided with a guardrail. The impact sent the sedan back across all three travel lanes where it then struck a 2012 Volvo tractor-trailer that was parked on the right southbound shoulder.
The front seat passenger, Lajuanna M. Morton, 34, got out of the car holding a 3-year-old girl, according to police. They were standing in the travel lane and were struck by a 2022 Kenworth tractor-trailer.
The impact of that crash caused the 2022 Kenworth tractor-trailer to collide with another southbound tractor-trailer, police said. Both trucks came to rest against the guardrail.
Morton, of Baltimore, Maryland, died at the scene. The 3-year-old suffered serious, but non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to Mary Washington Hospital. A 16-year-old girl that was in the Honda was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
State police said none of the tractor-trailer drivers were injured in the crash.
The driver of the Honda sedan, Anthony D. George, 43, of Baltimore, suffered minor injuries in the crash and was taken to Mary Washington Hospital for treatment. He was wearing a seatbelt.
Police have charged George with one felony count of possession of a controlled schedule I/II drug, one misdemeanor count of DUI, one misdemeanor count of no valid driver’s license, and one traffic infraction for expired registration. He is being held at the Rappahannock Regional Jail without bond.
The horrid situation is a reminder to others who may be involved in a future wreck, according to Morgan Dean with AAA.
“I think if someone has been in a crash, they could be in a situation where they are dazed, they are a little bit confused. Pause for that moment, take a breath. Don’t immediately open the door and step out because that could be into traffic and that is a very, very scary place to be, no matter what speed you’re talking about.”
Officials urge anyone involved in a crash to first determine whether anyone in the vehicle has been hurt. Call the police, then get yourself and your vehicle out of danger.
Dean admitted that, sometimes, exiting a vehicle may be the safest call. But drivers must always survey the situation first.
“Make yourself as visible as possible,” Dean recommended. “Put on those hazard lights, put something hanging out your window if you have to.”.
Drivers passing by car accidents should also not forget they are legally required to move over and give other cars plenty of space.