April 23, 2014

A man from Winchester, Virginia, recently made a plea bargain with prosecutors over a November 2011 car crash which resulted in the death of his female passenger. The 50-year-old defendant was looking at charges of homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, recklessly endangering another person and several other minor traffic infractions. However, under the terms of the new agreement, the man will only have to serve two years of probation, complete 120 hours of community service, and abstain from alcohol and controlled substances. He must also pay fines totaling $1,724.54.

According to online court documents, the accident occurred in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, near Pa. 16 and Pa. 995. The defendant’s vehicle left the road after he unlawfully attempted to pass another vehicle. The vehicle then struck a house which resulted in the man’s passenger sustaining life-ending injuries as a result of the impact.

Police arrived on the scene about 4:35 p.m. and an unsuccessful attempt to revive the passenger using CPR ensued. Court documents say that the man admitted to police that he had inhaled marijuana vapors approximately one hour and thirty-five minutes prior to the accident.

It is unclear how the victim’s family feels about the terms of this plea bargain, yet one thing is certain; they were deprived of a lifetime of memories with her by the actions of the defendant. It is important to know that although the criminal matter appears to have been settled, there are still some issues with this case which may give rise to a claim of wrongful death. By the defendant’s own admission he may have been impaired at the time of the accident. Also the manner of his passing attempt indicates that he may not have used reasonable care. The family of the victim should know that there are statutes of limitations regarding the time in which to file a claim to recover damages. They should act now to secure their legal rights.

Source: Chambersburg Public Opinion, “Winchester man charged in fatal DUI crash pleads down, gets probation” Becky Metrick, Apr. 20, 2014