September 14, 2015- Amelia, VA
What started as a simple roadside-repair ended in tragedy Saturday night, after Travious Donque Garrison, age 26, was fatally struck by a 2007 Pontiac while changing a tire on Hull Street road.
At the time of the accident, Mr. Garrison was changing the tire of a 1996 Mercury Tracer on the right shoulder of the road, just east of Route 698 in Amelia County. A 2006 Ford van was also pulled over with emergency flashers to provide additional lighting. Around 9:00 PM, Spencer Ballou – the driver of the Pontiac – struck the back of the Ford and then hit the Mercury before colliding with Mr. Garrison. Mr. Garrison died at the scene and Mr. Ballou was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
According to CBS 6 News, the crash remains under investigation and charges are pending.
In the event of a blown tire, many drivers may become more concerned about the state of their vehicle than their own safety. Rather than risk additional damage by driving on a flat tire, it is instinctual to pull over as soon as possible to make repairs. At night, this becomes particularly dangerous when the visibility of other drivers is compromised. Oncoming vehicles may mistake the lights of a disabled vehicle on the shoulder for those of a car traveling in the right lane, or fail to see an individual crouched outside of their vehicle making repairs.
It is therefore essential for drivers making repairs on their vehicle, particularly at night, to make themselves as visible as possible. Virginia law requires that vehicles stopped in the roadway or on a paved shoulder to activate hazard lights (emergency blinkers). It is also advisable (where possible) to pull as far off the highway as possible and do so on a straight stretch of roadway, so as not to surprise oncoming traffic as they round a bend or curve in the road.