Fatal car crash plea deal may lead to wrongful death lawsuit

A 29-year-old man recently struck a deal with prosecutors which now means that he will serve only 17 months for his role in a fatal 2013 car crash. Coshocton County deputies say an SUV driven by the defendant was travelling in excess of 60 mph after its brakes failed and it plowed into a Toyota Prius, striking in on its passenger side, killing a 68-year-old woman and seriously injuring her 72-year-old husband.

The accident occurred in Coshocton, Ohio, last year on Sep. 17. Police say the defendant was already on probation from a previous charge and so violated the terms of that agreement when he decided to get behind the wheel of his SUV that day with a valid license.

Prosecutors had originally charged the defendant with a felony charge of vehicular homicide, but instead allowed the defendant to plead to a host of lesser misdemeanor charges in exchange for his admission of guilt in March. Those charges are: vehicular manslaughter, driving while under suspension, speeding and failure to control.

The surviving victim is probably not happy with the outcome of this case. This preventable accident has now deprived him of his wife's companionship for the few remaining years he has left on this earth. Additionally, he is probably still recovering from the injuries he suffered from the collision. There is also the matter of his accumulating expenses such as medical treatment costs, funeral expenses, and the costs of restoring his Toyota Prius. That man should know that civil law allows the surviving family to sue a person who has caused the wrongful death of their loved one. The husband might not have received justice in the criminal court, but the defendant's own admission of guilt should make it possible for him to receive compensation in a civil claim.

Source: WKRC Local 12, "SUV driver gets 17 months in fatal Ohio crash" No author given, May. 13, 2014

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