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Sentencing in Pennsylvania fatal accident case

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.

In Sept. 2010 a family received news that a terrible Pennsylvania car crash had claimed the lives of their loved ones. The victims were an elderly couple; a 76-year-old man and his 69-year-old wife. The couple was involved in the fatal accident upon encountering a man who had recently been treated at a methadone clinic.

The criminal case against the driver recently concluded. He was found to have been under the influence of methadone and other prescription drugs at the time of the crash. He has been sentenced to a prison term of five to 12 years for his role in the fatal accident. In addition, upon his release he will be barred from entering any establishment that serves alcohol. 

The sentence comes as a result of the driver's guilty plea on charges of homicide by vehicle and driving under the influence. In court, he apologized to the family members of the victims, stating that the accident was his fault. There is no word on the family's response to the court proceedings or whether they are satisfied with the punitive measures that were ordered. 

Should they decide to move forward with a wrongful death suit, a successful outcome requires proving that driver negligence played a causal role in the fatal accident. In this case, the driver has admitted guilt, and evidence exists to prove that he was under the influence of multiple substances when he got behind the wheel of his car. Negligence is readily apparent; whether the driver finds himself back in Pennsylvania court on civil matters is entirely up to the surviving family members.

Source: abc27.com, "Man gets 5 to 12 years in Pa. crash that killed 2," March 6, 2013

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