Last November, four Pennsylvania children were walking home from school when tragedy struck. An 8-year-old was in the process of crossing the street with her older brother who was holding her hand when a car was suddenly hurtling directly toward them. The girl later died from the injuries she suffered in the car accident.
The driver, a 25-year-old man, was recently on trial for the fatal accident. He was initially charged with vehicular homicide, along with several other serious charges. After spending several hours in deliberations, the jury returned with an acquittal on the homicide charge but did find the driver guilty of manslaughter and reckless driving.
Before the trial commenced, the driver did enter a guilty plea to one charge: leaving the scene of a fatal wreck. The parents expressed dismay with the jury’s decision regarding the homicide charge. Nevertheless, the driver could face approximately three to 17 years on the convictions when he is sentenced in Jan. 2018. According to his account, he was attempting to pass a car stopped in his lane and did not see the pedestrians in time to avoid a collision. Though he claimed he attempted to brake, the investigators found no evidence at the scene of any braking attempts.
The impact knocked the girl out of her shoes and flung her body approximately 100 feet from the point of contact. Her 12-year-old brother was hit in the lower leg but was not seriously injured. The driver and vehicle were located several days later when the owner took it to a repair shop. Pennsylvania families who have experienced tragedy caused by a car accident must deal with the emotional traumas from the loss of their loved ones as well as the financial consequences that typically accompany such tragedies. In this case, the manslaughter, reckless driving and hit-and-run convictions would likely constitute negligence per se with respect to any civil claim for monetary damages brought by the victim’s surviving family.
Source: philly.com, “Mixed verdict in West Philly hit-run that killed girl, 8“, Julie Shaw, Nov. 3, 2017