Cyclists are among the most vulnerable users of the highway in Hampton Roads. I am always saddened and angry when I read about how drivers fail to respect them and cause serious injuries and even fatalities. Recently, a driver was charged with the DUI death of a cyclist in Norfolk.
On Dec. 6, the driver’s charges were upped to felony murder. A report on WAVY.com noted the man was indicted by a grand jury on charges of felony murder, involuntary aggravated manslaughter, refusing a blood or breath sobriety test, driving while intoxicated and felony hit-and-run.
These are extremely serious charges. Police say he was driving drunk when he crashed into Erica Zankli, a 54-year-old cyclist and killed her as she rode her bike on East Ocean View Avenue on July 21.
Alleged DUI Death of a Cyclist in Norfolk Leads to Murder Charge
The 37-year-old man was charged with driving under the influence on the night of the crash and was charged days later with felony hit-and-run. He was reported to be held at the Norfolk City Jail without bond. He is scheduled to appear in Norfolk Circuit Court on Jan. 3.
The highways of Hampton Roads are chaotic and often unfriendly to cyclists. They have too few cycle paths and many drivers fail to give cyclists the space they require for their safety.
In 2013, another cyclist lost her life on East Ocean View Avenue in Norfolk. Lyalles Downey Westman, 46, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident on June at East Ocean View Avenue and Chesapeake Street, according to Norfolk police.
The fatal accident was also reported as a hit-and run. The local media noted police were searching for two vehicles that may have been involved in the wreck, a small, red sedan with a large amount of front-end damage and a mini-van taxi.
At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, our attorneys have represented bicyclists who were injured in Hampton Roads as well as the families of deceased riders. Cyclists have a right to travel safely on our highways. Virginia has a three-feet law intended to protect cyclists which I outline in this video.
It’s particularly tragic when a drunk driver claims a life from a moment of recklessness. If you have lost a loved one or been injured in a cycling accident, please call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at (757) 455-0077.