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

DUI takes life of Pennsylvania teen

Driving under the influence is dangerous and too often deadly according to Pennsylvania state troopers who most often are the first at the scene of a fatal car accident caused by drunken driving.

One such impaired driver, according to a CBS report, is facing a full array of charges due the death her drunk driving caused. Her hit and run crash killed one teen and injured another on Pennsylvania's Route 309.

This case is somewhat different from the classic scenaro in that here only one car was involved--that of the allegedly drunk driver. According to police reports, the apparently impaired driver was headed down Route 309 when she swerved off the main travel lane and struck two teenagers walking along the shoulder of the road. The 15-year-old teen who was later pronounced dead at a local hospital was launched over the guardrail and landed some 20 feet away from the point of impact. His companion, another teenager, received a broken elbow from the collision.

To the credit of the impaired driver, she returned to the impact vicinity an hour later and relayed to officials still at the scene that she thought she hit something. As the conversation with the officers ensued, they suspected the defendant may have been drinking.

After surrendering a voluntary blood sample, the driver registered a blood alcohol content of .167, two times the legal limit recognized in Pennsylvania.

A search warrant inside her car revealed marijuana. In the end, the investigators concluded that she had consumed several alcoholic beverages before the crash and, furthermore, was texting back and forth at the time of the fatal crash with someone who was going to supply her with more marijuana. It was also discovered that the errant driver had been at a bar for five hours before the crash.

In addition to a pending avalanche of criminal charges, the defendant is bracing for civil litigation forthcoming from the survivors of the dead teen. The official list of charges thus far include Homicide by Vehicle While Driving Under the Influence, Homicide by Vehicle, Accidents Involving Death or Personal Injury, Aggravated Assault by Vehicle While Driving Under the Influence, Driving Under the Influence, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Unsworn Falsification to Authorities, and Possession of Marijuana.

When a negligent or reckless act such as a car accident caused by another driver results in a wrongful death, family members of the victim (or victims) can hold a negligent or reckless actor accountable for the harm caused. Even though no amount of money could ever heal such a painful tragedy, a wrongful death lawsuit allows relatives to collect fair compensation for the untimely death of a loved one.

Source:  CBS Philly, "Driver Charged With DUI In Fatal Hit-Run Of Teen In Hatfield Township" No Author Given, May. 24, 2013

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