News

March 12, 2013

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When a Pennsylvania family loses a loved one in an auto accident, the initial weeks and months are often filled with grief and adjustment to the changed circumstances. Once that process is well underway, family members may begin looking for justice in the matter. In many cases, the driver who caused the fatal accident has to face criminal charges for his or her role in the death.

This is the case for one family who experienced such a loss in Feb. 2012. The 21-year-old man was driving on Route 6 near union City, Pennsylvania when he encountered another vehicle. That vehicle was driven by an off-duty state trooper with a blood alcohol level of .13 percent. The trooper crossed into oncoming traffic and struck the victim’s vehicle head-on.

In a recent hearing on the matter, the state trooper entered a plea of ‘no contest’ to the charges of homicide by motor vehicle and DUI. As a result of a plea bargain, charges of involuntary manslaughter were dropped. The former trooper could spend between three to more than ten years in prison. Sentencing is expected in April.

For the family left behind due to this fatal accident, the recently entered plea will mean that there will not be a trial against the driver. This may come as a relief, but it could also feel as if they will have no chance to have their loss fully acknowledged in a Pennsylvania court of law. A wrongful death action is within their rights, and should they decide to pursue that option, they may feel as if an additional measure of justice is possible.

Source: erietvnews.com, “PA State Trooper Enters Plea For Deadly DUI Accident,” Emily Matson, March 4, 2013