2009-07-31 / Top Stories

Rockaway Woman Dead In Virginia Crash

Seven Injured When Driver Falls Asleep
By Howard Schwach

A Far Rockaway woman, on her way with family to a reunion, died on Saturday, July 25, when the van in which she was riding was hit by a sports utility vehicle on a Virginia highway.

Sergeant Thomas Molnar, a spokesperson for the Virginia State Police, identified the woman as Valerie Robinson, 52. Molnar said that Robinson was traveling from Rockaway to North Carolina along with seven other people in the 1996 Plymouth Voyager van at about 6:20 a.m. when the accident occurred.

Robinson's relative, Carl Rose, 51, of North Carolina, who was driving the van, fell asleep at the wheel, according to police sources, and the van went off the road and hit a guardrail along busy Interstate 95 just outside of Chesterfield, Virginia.

The van then bounced back into the roadway, striking a GMC Yukon, which was also traveling southbound. Neither of the two people in the SUV was hurt, but the seven people in the van, in addition to Robinson, suffered injuries and were transported to the hospital, police sources say.

Robinson was declared dead at the VCU Medical Center shortly after she was brought in, police say.

Among the injured were three unidentified children, ages 1 to 4- years-of-age. None of the children was in a child safety seat, a violation of Virginia law, Molnar told The Wave on Monday.

He added that it was unclear whether or not anybody in the van was wearing a seatbelt.

Rose was charged by Virginia State Police with reckless driving.

Molnar added that other charges, including failure to use child safety seats, could be brought against Rose after the investigation by State Trooper M.S. Meyers is completed.

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