Accident victim dies

Published 8:18 pm Friday, December 26, 2008

A third victim of fatal crashes on Holland Road in the past week died on Christmas Eve.

Ashley L. Lovelace, 23, died at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital on Dec. 24. She had been in critical condition since the Dec. 20 accident when her husband, Joshua Lovelace, 26, may have fallen asleep at the wheel, police said.

The couple’s 7-month-old son, Logan, was ejected from the vehicle, even though he was strapped into a car seat, and died at the scene. The family’s dog also died in the accident, which occurred just before 7 a.m. that day. The vehicle was traveling eastbound when it ran off the road, struck a tree and came to rest in a ravine.

Suffolk spokeswoman Debbie George said it’s too soon to know if Lovelace will be charged. All fatal accidents are reviewed with the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for a determination of charges.

In a separate accident Tuesday morning, a 40-year-old Murfreesboro, N.C. woman died after her vehicle ran off the road and struck the same tree.

Joan D. Skupien died after her 1997 Mercedes ran off the road to the right about 6 a.m. Tuesday. She may have been talking on a cell phone at the time, police said.

In both accidents, driver inattention seems to have been the cause, George said.

She said traffic engineers and public works officials visited the site Tuesday morning to determine whether there were any intrinsic threats to safety. They found that the tree is located 20 feet from the roadway and outside of the public right-of-way. There also are “other trees in the immediate area,” she added.

Police and city officials might never have known the connection between the two crashes if it were not for the fact that the officer investigating Tuesday’s accident had been on the scene during the cleanup and investigation that followed Saturday’s crash.

“It’s a tragic coincidence,” she said.