Like most people, you probably cannot imagine being struck by a car while walking. But unfortunately, that recently became the reality of eight Californians.

After hitting a group of pedestrians with his car in Sunnyvale, a former serviceman faces eight counts of attempted murder. Some officials allege that the driver purposely hit the pedestrians, possibly due to their perceived religious beliefs. However, the driver’s attorney, Chuck Smith, maintains that the driver of the vehicle is a “fine man” who did not intentionally injure anyone.

Could PTSD have played a role in pedestrian injuries?

Arrested at the scene of the accident, the honorably-discharged Army veteran has a known history of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Smith maintains the driver did not intend any harm and advocates for thorough psychological care for veterans of our armed forces.

In this case, Smith asserts that while there is no question of what happened, the issue remains the mental state of the driver involved, leading to plans of seeking a forensic mental health evaluation for an explanation of what may have led to the accident.

As a formerly-deployed veteran, the vehicle’s driver likely saw and experienced the unthinkable during his years of service. And although PTSD can subside over time, each case is unique, and every individual experiences trauma differently.

Common symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Negative thoughts, potentially including the world, others or oneself
  • Severe reactions to things that remind you of a traumatic event
  • Flashbacks to a traumatic event

The driver reportedly cares about and prays for those he injured in the accident. And as this case unfolds, Smiths advocates for the driver to get help dealing with the psychological effects of serving in the military. At the same time, expressing hope that those injured in the accident can approach closure with understanding.