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Man sentenced in fatal car accident in Pennsylvania

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 man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter following a serious crash that resulted in the death of his passenger, according to local news sources. The 20-year-old Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty to four separate charges related to the car accident that happened on Aug. 20, 2012. It appears the man may have been intoxicated at the time of the crash. 

The details of the fatal crash are somewhat unclear. It has been confirmed that both men had been drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana before the accident occurred. Somehow, the driver lost control of the vehicle, which left the road and rolled before striking a tree, ejecting both men from the car. The passenger in the vehicle, a friend of the driver's, was pronounced dead by medical authorities a short time later. 

The man has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter charge, as well as three more minor traffic violations. The manslaughter charge was the result of a plea bargain in which prosecutors agreed to drop the charges of homicide via DUI if he agreed to plead guilty. The original charges would have carried a mandatory sentence of three to six years. As it stands now, he will be formally sentenced on Apr. 9. 

While the man has expressed remorse in the death of his friend, Pennsylvania law is clear on the subject of drunk driving when it results in a car accident. His sentence will be lighter than it might have been without the plea bargain, but he will still face criminal penalties. In addition, the family of his deceased friend may choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit against him using the evidence from the criminal trial. 

This blog entry was posted on behalf of Seidel, Cohen, Hof & Reid, LLC, and does 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.

Source: njherald.com, "Man guilty of manslaughter in crash that killed friend", Feb. 2, 2015

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