Recently, the Fairfax County Fire Chief, Richard Bowers, was involved in a motor vehicle crash. As of May 27, 2016, no charges have been filed. It appears that Chief Bowers was operating his assigned county vehicle when a 2002 BMW approached Rte. 29 from the Rte. 286 ramp when the front of the Fire Chief’s Chevy Tahoe collided with the right side of the BMW in the intersection. The driver of the BMV was transported to the Inova Fair Oaks Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Richard Bowers was uninjured. It is possible that one of the parties will be charged with reckless driving.
Reckless Driving is defined by Virginia Statute as driving in a manner that endangers life, limb, or property. As a result, many police officers and state troopers will charge reckless driving when there is an accident. After all, the driving endangered the property that was damaged as a result of the accident right?
The answer depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident. For example, if there is a single-car accident with no witnesses or statements, case law holds that the mere happening of an accident is not reckless driving (or even improper driving). Of course, if there is evidence of drinking or excessive speed, the facts could sustain a conviction for reckless driving.
We will have to wait and see if any charges are brought against either driver. If charges are brought, the matter will be heard in the Fairfax County General District Court. For more information on reckless driving, feel free to visit our website.