On Jan. 18, a drunk driver killed a 19-year-old man and injured the teen's 18-year-old girlfriend. The couple was struck while they were leaving the parking lot of a shopping and entertainment complex in Syracuse after a date at a restaurant there. Following the fatal car accident, the 38-year-old man who hit the couple received a slew of criminal charges including driving while intoxicated, first-degree vehicular manslaughter and first-degree vehicular assault.
According to police, the car accident took place at 9:25 p.m. while the driver at fault was traveling westbound along Hiawatha Boulevard in a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. After the first two vehicles collided, a 2003 Kia Sedona also became involved in the accident. A passenger in the Kia and the accused drunk driver were both treated at area hospitals and then released.
The deceased victim's step-grandmother spoke with a local reporter after the accident. She said that her family found out that the driver at fault had other drunk driving charges on his criminal record. In February 2014, the driver had been charged for felony DWI, driving with a blood alcohol content over .08 percent and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
A family who has lost a loved one in an accident like this one may want to consider filing a wrongful death claim against the drunk driver. Evidence from the subsequent accident investigation, such as a record of the driver's blood-alcohol content, might be used to support the family's civil claim. The family may be able to prevail in its wrongful death claim regardless of the outcome of the criminal case, as the burden of proof in a civil case is not as stringent as that in a criminal proceeding.
Source: Syracuse.com, Teen killed in DWI crash outside Destiny USA was about to graduate college, become a police officer", Catie O'Toole, Jan. 20, 2015