Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Pittsburgh mother killed in DUI crash

We don't often hear about a motorcycle rider riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol and then causing a fatality. However, it appears that a fatal accident in Pittsburgh may have involved a rider who was under the influence of alcohol and the prescription drug hydrocodone.

The motorcycle rider went out for a ride with his 35-year old girlfriend as a passenger. Though his blood alcohol level was at 0.055 which is below the legal limit, the combination of drinking and prescription medication likely meant he was in no condition to ride. The rider subsequently lost control of the motorcycle and his girlfriend was thrown and killed.

The rider pled guilty to homicide by vehicle and driving under the influence. The rider had previously been convicted of driving under the influence in 2007 and had another motorcycle violation in 2009. The judge overseeing the current criminal proceeding had harsh words for the rider stressing how the rider had not learned from these previous lessons. The rider's attorney stated: "He's been traumatized by this. He realizes it was his fault."

Sadly, a criminal proceeding will only bring partial closure to the family of the deceased woman. This woman left behind an 11-year old girl who was unable to read her own victim impact statement at court. This child will need support and comfort as she will now be forced to live without her mother.

Though a wrongful death suit cannot bring the victim back, attorneys bringing such suits can sometimes litigate the matter to provide the family some compensation so that they are not punished more than they already have been.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Motorcyclist sentenced for DUI in fatal crash," by Paula Reed Ward, April 4, 2012

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