CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – A Chesterfield mother, pregnant with her second child, said the driver who crashed into her minivan was distracted by a cell phone — but not the way you might think.
“She had her hand up to her ear. One hand on steering wheel. I don’t know if she dropped the phone, but she bent down and took her eyes off the road,” Bridget Liaqat said about the Dec. 10 crash on Hopkins Road. “The passenger side of her car was coming so fast at us.”
The driver of the SUV that slammed into Liaqat’s minivan was charged with reckless driving, however police have not yet confirmed the driver was distracted prior to the crash.
Liaqat broke her ankle in the crash. Her 70-year-old aunt, who was sitting in the front passenger’s seat, broke her femur and eight ribs.
The accident happened as Liaqat was driving to the daycare to pick up her child after Christmas shopping.
This hectic time of year is said to be one of the most dangerous for drivers.
“These six days, surrounding Christmas are the most dangerous of the year,” Drive Smart Virginia Executive Director Janet Brooking said. “Most people think about New Year’s Eve, but this is the most dangerous.”
In 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near crashes, drivers were distracted in the three seconds before crashing, Brooking said citing a Virginia Tech study.
Liaqat said she was grateful to other drivers who saw the accident and rushed to her aid. She said those drivers helped keep her calm while they waited for emergency crews to arrive.
Liaqat, whose unborn child was not injured in the crash, said she was sharing her story hoping to convince other drivers to slow down and play attention to the road.
The mother of the driver charged in the accident contacted us after the story aired.
Her daughter says she hugged a curve on Hopkins Road too tightly, ran off the side of the road and over-corrected causing her to go into the other lane and causing the crash.
She says she did not have a cell phone in her hand at the time of the accident.