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Meadville man gets maximum sentence in drunk driving accident

These blogs are posted on behalf of Seidel, Cohen, Hof & Reid, LLC, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the firm or its attorneys. The information presented in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.

A Pennsylvania man has received the maximum sentence allowed under law for his role in a fatal drunk driving accident. The crash took place last fall and killed a 77-year-old grandmother.

The victim's granddaughter spoke on behalf of her family during the sentencing phase of the trial and requested the judge make an example of this drunk driving case. She went on to say that the man responsible for the drunk driving accident 'played God' and put other people's lives at risk when he chose to get in a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

The defendant's SUV struck the 77-year-old woman's vehicle head-on after he crossed the median. Pennsylvania police reconstructed the accident and estimated that his SUV was traveling at 91.73 miles per hour when it smashed into the other vehicle. Additionally, his blood-alcohol content was tested at over twice the Pennsylvania legal limit.

The judge in this case listened to the family's pleas, sentencing the man to five to ten years in Pennsylvania state prison. This comes after the driver pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence. He was also on parole at the time of the accident and now faces two years in prison for drinking while on parole. That sentence must be completed before he begins serving the more recent prison sentence.

A family spokesperson said that the family of the Pennsylvania woman who lost her life in this drunk driving accident is relieved that this ordeal is over.

Unfortunately, while the criminal case is over, they may face a second trial should they decide to pursue civil action against the driver who took their loved one's life. In some situations, this is an entirely appropriate course of action, as a surviving family seeks to hold the negligent person(s) accountable for their actions while also seeking reimbursement of damages suffered as a result of a fatal accident.

Source: The Meadville Tribune, "Local man gets maximum sentence for homicide by vehicle," Keith Gushard, June 28, 2012

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