On Sept 26, 2009, a tragic accident occurred in the Lincoln Place section of Pittsburgh that took the life of a 24-year-old woman from Elizabeth. Just one of many people involved in fatal car accidents in our state in that year, the victim was a passenger in a vehicle struck by an alleged drunk driver. There were three other occupants of the car, including the woman’s boyfriend, who died several months later. In addition, two other passengers were injured, including the deceased victim’s brother and another woman who was driving the vehicle at the time of the collision.
A 24-year-old Munhall man was arrested nine months later and charged with homicide by vehicle and driving under the influence. Testimony in his non-jury criminal trial was recently heard in Allegheny County court, where evidence was presented indicating that the accused man’s blood alcohol content was nearly three times the permissible amount under Pennsylvania law. The man, however, denies that he was behind the wheel of the vehicle, even though he was sitting there when authorities arrived at the scene of the crash. Testimony was adduced that documented the presence of the defendant’s DNA on the driver’s side air bag.
While the family of the deceased woman likely hopes that the truth emerges in the criminal trial, they may also consider pursuing a wrongful death action against all parties deemed negligent in the woman’s death. In addition, those seriously injured in car accidents in Pittsburgh and throughout the state may elect to pursue personal injury claims based on the negligent or reckless acts of others.
While nothing can change what occurred, the deceased woman’s family and other victims may find some measure of solace in holding negligent parties fully accountable for their actions while also seeking financial remuneration to help defray some of the expenses accruing from the accident.
Source: WTAE, “Man Accused Of Killing Woman In DUI Crash Goes Before Judge,” Feb. 28, 2012