Virginia Traffic Deaths at New High

By: Lisa Ferrari Email
By: Lisa Ferrari Email

November 16, 2007

Virginia is nearing 1000 traffic deaths this year. The commonwealth hasn't seen that many accident fatalities in 15 years.

That’s why state police along with v-dot and triple -a are urging drivers to slow down and use more caution on the roadways this holiday season.

State police along with VDOT and AAA announced their new program, "Are you Virginia's Next Traffic Fatality?"

“Only you can decide if you will be Virginia’s next traffic fatality. Make the conscious decision not to be by making traffic safety a priority,” said Virginia State Police Sgt. Gregory Miller.

As of today Virginia has already lost 903 people to traffic crashes this year compared to 839 at this time last year. State police are hoping that number doesn't reach one-thousand by January first.

One of the people who lost her life in a Virginia crash this year was 25 year old Jessica Lester of Albemarle County.

The young nurse was killed on June 21, 2007 when a cement truck rolled over the car she and her husband was driving in.

Now her husband shares in the state police message for drivers to slow down and hopes his story can prevent one family from going through what he did.

Isaiah Lester recalls a truck carrying six hundred thousand pounds of concrete was barreling down route 53 so fast that when the truck turned the corner it was riding on two wheels. There was nothing they could do. The cement truck flipped over the vehicle he and his wife were driving in.

“We were talking about having kids when we were coming into town and that's been what I have been trying to tell people since this happened is your life can change in a split second,” said Lester.

25 year old Jessica Lester was seriously injured. She spent eight days in ICU before she died from severe head trauma

“It was a difficult eight days. The last day when we had to take her off life support that will probably be the worst day in my life,” said Lester.

A day he hopes he can prevent at least one family from having to go through.

“The holiday season is here and people hurry driving. Just slow down and be careful,” said Lester.

At the scene of the accident family and friends have created a memorial. It's a place they visit often so they won't forget Jessica and its there to remind others to slow down.

“I came to the point in life where I thought I had everything I wanted my job career, family and it was all just taken just like that,” said Lester.

Jessica’s husband started a memorial fund in Jessica’s name. He plans to provide one nurse with an annual scholarship. Go to JessicaLesterMemorialFund.com for more information.

The driver of the cement truck has been charged with reckless driving and involuntary manslaughter.


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