Increasingly, law enforcement officials are pursuing criminal charges against negligent drivers who cause serious and fatal accidents while in violation of traffic laws or using a cell phone. A Connecticut teen is being criminal charged nearly a year after a motor vehicle accident downtown Bridgeport killed a 56-year-old woman.
An initial investigation revealed that the 16-year-old and his 15-year-old passenger were traveling at more than 50 miles per hour in a Nissan Altima and plowed into the victim's car. Neither of the teens were injured in the accident, but the woman was ejected from her vehicle and died of her injuries one month after the accident.
The joyriding teens struck the left front of the victim's Subaru so hard to cause it to strike another vehicle and a concrete-filled steel pole, knocking it 2 inches off its base, according to the principal investigator of the accident.
This week, the teen was arrested and charged with negligent homicide, reckless driving, passing on the right, driving without a learner's permit and without a licensed adult. He was also charged with carrying a passenger as a youthful driver and driving while using a cell phone. All of the criminal charges can be used as evidence of negligence in a civil matter against the teen.
In this case, the teen could face additional liability, including a wrongful death claim by the woman's family. Any driver who negligently causes such a tragic accident should be held accountable. Victims and their families have the right to pursue a private investigation and identify all the persons or entities responsible. The family of the victim may be entitled to collect compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, funeral costs and any other personal or economic losses related to the accidental death.
Source: Connecticut Post, "Teen charged in fatal crash," Frank Juliano, Oct. 11, 2012