We all know how costly a Saint Petersburg auto accident can be, especially if you’re the one found at fault. Insurance premiums can skyrocket, costly driving tickets and violation citations can be issued, and, in some cases, the others involved may have reason to file a personal injury lawsuit. For a person who is already in trouble with the law, already has outstanding warrants, has failed to have a vehicle registered, who is driving with an expired license, or who is carrying illegal items in his or her vehicle, the stakes are even higher. No one wants to go to jail. And yet, trying to run from the scene of an accident, in order to avoid those fates, could be much more expensive.
Take, for instance, this case out of Polk, Florida. In this situation, a woman decided to drive away from the scene of the crash that she had caused. She had been driving in the westbound lane of I-4 when the first accident occurred. But she immediately fled the scene, turned into the eastbound lane, and proceeded to crash into a Mercedes Benz. She had another adult and three young children in her vehicle when the collision occurred. It set off a series of terrifying events as the woman’s Jeep continued on completely out of control, went off course, and rammed into a truck with a trailer. The truck and the two motorcycles it carried were sent spiraling out of control as well before the Jeep finally flipped, ejecting the driver. Debris from the wreck took out one more vehicle before the police arrived.
What might have been ruled a relatively simple at-fault accident turned into much worse. It led to five cars being seriously damaged, and cost the irresponsible woman her life. She landed face down in the eastbound lanes and was pronounced dead on the scene. That same bad decision will very likely cost her family a great deal financially as well. There will undoubtedly be personal injury attorneys called in to assist the victims who were injured in the crashes.
The woman was 54-year-old Rita Bata Beaulieu. The highway was closed after the crash for quite some time, while the authorities did their best to assist those involved. Among the victims was Ricky Lyle Rice, the driver of the truck and trailer. He was transported from the scene to a local medical facility and deemed to be in critical condition.
Earlier this month, USA Today ran a story on the rising incidents of hit-and-run accidents. It was reported:
Crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that the number of fatal hit-and-run crashes is trending upward, from 1,274 in 2009, to 1,393 in 2010, to 1,449 in 2011, the most recent year for which statistics were available.
This is a perfect example of the risks involved with leaving the scene of an accident. While the majority of hit-and-run incidents do not end so violently, a person who makes a rash, unwise decision like this can put others at great harm. It is always better to deal with the consequences of a St. Petersburg auto accident than to lose your life or endanger the lives of others, including your loved ones.