The criminal trial of a man involved in a fatal accident in Pennsylvania is finally over, save for the sentencing. The accident occurred over six years ago and the victim’s family has continued since that time to fight for justice to be served. Earlier this month, the man pleaded guilty to the charge of an accident involving death or personal injury. He will be sentenced on July 13, just two days short of the sixth anniversary of the fatal accident.
The victim was found on July 15, 2005, on Route 110 in Burrell Township. An arrest in the hit-and-run case was not made until 2006. Thereafter, the defense claimed the victim may not have been alive when the accused ran him over. The driver said he thought he had hit a speed bump but acknowledged that when he looked in his rear-view mirror, he saw someone lying on their back.
Initially, an appeals court dismissed his case but it was later reinstated by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The family is grateful that their long fight for justice is finally coming to an end and believes the victim would be proud of what they have accomplished.
Although the man has now been held criminally responsible for this fatal accident, there was no indication if the family had pursued a wrongful death claim against him. Such a claim is generally permissible under state law when a fatality occurs through the negligent or intentional act of another. Families of accident victims may have the legal right to be heard before the civil courts of Pennsylvania.
Source: WTAE.com, “Man pleads guilty in Indiana County bicyclist’s 2005 death,” May 4, 2012.