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Driver admits to negligence in school superintendent's death

A teenage driver's plea agreement finally answers questions posed by a mourning community back in April. It was then that a school superintendent was struck by a car and killed ("Did a driver's negligence cause an entire community to mourn?" April 28, 2016). The New Jersey teenager recently entered into a plea agreement in which she pleaded guilty to careless driving and leaving the scene of a fatal crash.

The New Jersey man was out for a morning run with his dog when the then juvenile driver struck him and fled the scene. Reports indicate that she later called police and said that she "thought" she might have hit someone. By then, it was too late to save the 52-year-old man or his dog.

The investigation revealed that the teen was on her cell phone at the time of the crash. By late June, officials made the decision to charge the girl, who was then 17 years old. Under the plea deal made with prosecutors, she is expected to be sentenced in January to 200 hours of community service, a two-year driver's license suspension and three years of probation.

The victim's wife and three sons might find some solace from recent events, but they also have a separate right to pursue a wrongful death claim. Criminal convictions can be used as evidence in civil actions to establish the negligence of the at-fault party. If the court rules that the death of a loved one was due to the negligence of another, an award of damages could be entered that might help surviving family members cope with the financial losses that accompany premature deaths.

Source: philly.com, "Teen pleads guilty in crash that killed N.J. superintendent", Emily Babay, Nov. 30, 2016

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