Pennsylvania residents tend to hold law enforcement officers to a higher standard than other citizens. When an individual chooses a career path dedicated to serving and protecting others, we expect that he or she will carry those traits into their off-duty lives, as well. However, the recent arrest of a Pennsylvania state trooper on suspicion of causing a death in a drunk driving accident has many in the area reconsidering this assumption.
The charges are in connection with a collision that took place in early February. Police believe that the trooper was off-duty when he allowed his vehicle to cross the center line and enter the lanes of oncoming traffic. As a result, his vehicle collided with that of a 21-year-old man. The young man suffered multiple traumatic injuries and was unable to survive the resulting bodily damage.
The trooper initially gave a statement to police that asserted that he had consumed at least four beers prior to the crash. He submitted to blood-alcohol testing which revealed a level of 0.13 percent. However, his attorney made a pretrial motion asking that both the statement and test results be thrown out of court. Those motions were denied. The trooper is now expected to enter a plea in response to the charges, and will likely avoid a criminal trial in the matter.
As the case moves forward, the family of the Pennsylvania victim may decide to pursue a wrongful death suit against the trooper. If so, evidence from the criminal trial may be of use in the civil case. A successful outcome could lead to an award of damages to the family of the young man killed in the crash, which could help cover the costs of his final arrangements and other losses associated with the alleged drunk driving accident.
Source: goerie.com, “Off-duty trooper scheduled for plea in fatal DUI case,” Lisa Thompson, Feb. 20, 2013