When a car accident occurs, drivers have a responsibility to stop, pull over and assist with the aftermath. If motorists are fortunate enough to avoid injury, they still must stay on the scene to trade insurance information. If passengers in the other car are injured, drivers should try to assist them in any way they can. Leaving an injured car accident victim behind is a serious crime – one that can lead to the death of a victim who might otherwise have survived.
Earlier this year, a man from Waverly, Ohio, was involved in a car accident. Few details are available regarding the circumstances of the crash, but it’s clear that it involved two vehicles: the Waverly man’s vehicle and a car driven by a 35-year-old woman. The woman, who was pregnant, had two teenage passengers.
The collision seriously injured all three occupants of the woman’s vehicle. According to police, however, the Waverly man did not stop to render assistance. He fled the scene without calling police.
The woman and a 19-year-old passenger were killed in the aftermath. The other passenger, a 14-year-old boy, suffered serious injuries but survived.
Police sought the Waverly man for nine days before finally capturing him. He eventually pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated vehicular manslaughter, aggravated vehicular assault and failure to stop at the scene of the crash.
This month, a judge sentenced him to seven years in prison – concurrent sentences of five and three years for the manslaughter and assault charges, and two years for the hit-and-run charge.
Though sentences such as this one are undoubtedly a comfort to the families of the victims of hit-and-run car accidents, they may not compensate them for the economic losses they have suffered. Indeed, it’s common in accidents such as this one for families to suffer lost wages, funeral expenses and hospital bills as a result of a fatal crash. As a result, it’s fairly common for family members to file a civil lawsuit in addition to the criminal charges that have been brought against the negligent driver.
The Columbus Dispatch, “Pike County man gets 7 years for hit-skip wreck that killed women, unborn child” Randy Ludlow, Oct. 11, 2013