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Hit-and-run car accidents can be a challenge for police

Law enforcement officials here in New Jersey and elsewhere often rely on witnesses and the public in order to determine the details, factors and individuals involved in crashes, along with the physical evidence. Their reliance on this type of assistance only increases in hit-and-run car accidents in which the driver believed responsible fled the scene. Depending on how much time elapsed between the accident and the apprehension of the party suspected of being the driver, evidence can disappear. This is why it is vital to locate the vehicle and driver quickly, if possible. 

For instance, troopers with the New Jersey State Police were dispatched to the scene of an accident on Route 532 at approximately 3:23 p.m. on a recent Friday. Upon arrival, they discovered a wrecked bicycle and its 64-year-old rider. Preliminary reports indicate that the bicyclist was traveling eastbound on the roadway when a vehicle struck and killed him.

The driver failed to remain at the scene, but that did not stop officials from locating a suspect. The investigation led to a 20-year-old woman from Ocean County. She was taken into custody and currently faces charges of knowingly leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death. At last report, she was being held on $50,000 bond at the Burlington County Jail.

As is the case in other car accidents, the family of the deceased victim retains the right to file a wrongful death claim against the driver independent of the criminal proceedings. Any evidence that prosecutors intend to present to the court indicating her involvement in the crash and subsequent death of the victim -- along with any conviction secured -- could be offered in support of the civil action to establish that the driver's actions led to the death of the family's loved one. A successful civil action could result in the award of damages, which may help with the unexpected financial losses often incurred in connection with tragedies such as this one.

Source: nj.com, "Driver charged in hit-and-run crash that killed bicyclist", Don E. Woods, Nov. 12, 2016

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