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Some fatal car accidents end in prison time for at-fault drivers

Drunk drivers put the lives of everyone at risk when they get behind the wheel. Impaired drivers who cause fatal car accidents may end up spending time in prison for their actions. Recently, man was sentenced to spend 10 years incarcerated in the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

On April 20, 2014, the man in question was waiting on his girlfriend to come pick him up from a bar. As he was waiting, he got into an altercation with other bar patrons and ending up smashing the windshield of another car in the parking lot. When his girlfriend arrived, the man jumped into the driver's seat of the vehicle, a Honda Civic, and sped off instead of allowing his girlfriend to drive. As the vehicle approached an intersection, the driver failed to stop for the red light, and he crashed into another vehicle.

The two occupants of that vehicle, a man and a pregnant woman, both survived the impact. However, the Civic flipped and rolled into the parking lot of a marina. The intoxicated man's girlfriend was ejected and thrown into a nearby river. She was declared dead at a local medical center not long after the crash. The at-fault driver recently entered into a plea agreement that resulted in a 10-year prison sentence for vehicular homicide and vehicular assault. All other charges against him were dropped as part of the agreement.

As in other fatal car accidents, the conviction could be used by the family of the deceased woman to establish the driver's negligence in a wrongful death claim. If a New Jersey court ruled that the loss of their loved one was caused by the defendant, surviving family members could receive an award of damages. Due to his incarceration, enforcing the monetary judgment could take time, but the family would still have the right to collect on it well into the future as long as the judgment remains valid.

Source: Howell, NJ Patch, "Man Gets 10-Year Term In Easter Drunk Driving Crash That Killed Howell Woman: Prosecutor", Karen Wall, Sept. 9, 2016

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