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The minute between 2 car accidents proved to be deadly

In mere seconds, a life can change dramatically. Every time someone gets into a car in New Jersey, there is a chance that he or she will be involved in a serious or fatal car accident. For example, the 60 seconds between two recent car accidents believed to have been caused by a drunk driver proved to be deadly.

At approximately 4:33 p.m., police in one New Jersey township were called to the scene of a car accident in which a car struck a parked vehicle. Upon arrival, they discovered that the driver -- who police described as disoriented -- still had his foot on the accelerator. Officers attempted to gain entry into the vehicle and get the driver's attention, but they were unsuccessful.

Eventually, the driver managed to untangle his vehicle from the parked car and drove off. No more than one minute later, officers received a call regarding a crash in the direction the driver fled. The same driver whose vehicle struck the parked car had crossed over into the oncoming lane of travel and crashed head on into another vehicle, which then burst into flames. The 63-year-old driver of that vehicle was taken to an area hospital by helicopter, but his injuries were too severe. He died at the hospital. 

Police took the other driver into custody at the same hospital on suspicion of drunk driving. As the criminal proceedings against him get underway, the surviving family members of the victim may choose to file a wrongful death claim against him in civil court. Any conviction secured in criminal court might be used to help establish negligence in a related civil proceeding, which is a necessary component of a wrongful death claim. If successful, a New Jersey court may award the family damages often seen in similar fatal car accidents.

Source: Parsippany, NJ Patch, "Drunk Driver Kills Man 1 Minute After Fleeing Crash: Cops", Jason Koestenblatt, Oct. 23, 2015

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