HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — The rules on the road can be tricky to understand, but one Hampton family was shocked after a hit-and-run incident.
Despite the other driver leaving the scene, police say she won’t face charges for it.
The woman who was hit said she was driving with her kids, and said the accident totaled her vehicle.
The accident happened at the intersection of Briarfield Road and Power Plant Parkway on Friday night.
“My car spent around like 5 or 6 times and then it flipped over,” Darnise Thompson said.
Hampton Police said another driver ran the red light, hit Thompson and kept driving. Police came to the scene and started making a report.
As officers were clearing up the scene, Thompson learned that police finally heard from the driver.
“They were like yea she freaked out. She just got scared, so she went home,” she said.
According to the police report, the 29-year-old driver left the accident and called into Hampton Public Safety Communications 10 minutes later to report it.
Virginia state law says any driver involved in a vehicle accident that results in injuries or property damage where another party is present “shall immediately stop as close to the scene of the accident as possible.”
“If there’s injury it could range to felony. If it’s property damage, it ranges to a misdemeanor,” said Andy Protogyrou, an attorney with Protogyrou & Rigney Law Firm.
“You need to pull your vehicle over as close as possible to the accident and then you need to exchange your personal information,” said Paige Thomas, an attorney with Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers.
But that didn’t happen, so why wasn’t the driver charged for leaving? 10 On Your Side contacted Hampton police and a spokeswoman told us each case is up to officer discretion. The driver was cited for failure to obey the traffic signal.
“If the shoe was on the other foot and I went home, who’s to say I wouldn’t be behind bars for leaving,” Thompson said.
Thompson said she has no ill will toward the other driver but she questions the officer’s judgment.
“It’s a matter of life or death. What if I was knocked unconscious and my daughters were back there and they’re upside down the blood is rushing?” she said.
Thompson declined an EMS transport and eventually took herself to the hospital. She said her daughter banged her head and she ended up with some sprains and bruising from the seatbelt.
Attorneys said the classification of the citation won’t likely affect the outcome of any insurance filings.