Accidents happen. We are told this as children to help comfort us when we make a mistake and feel badly about the consequences. Sometimes though, that saying is of little to no comfort for anyone involved. Recently, a motorist was facing court sentencing on petty traffic offense violations following a fatal accident that took the life of a 55 year old wife and mother as she rode her bicycle across a designated pedestrian crosswalk.
It seems that after she activated the flashing yellow lights before crossing, three cars did stop, but the fourth car did not. The driver of that car, for reasons unknown, failed to come to a stop, and as the cyclist entered that side of the road, she was struck by the car, and later died. The driver was not drunk, nor was she under the influence of any drug, compound, or prescription medication. She was not driving in a reckless fashion, and as such, the only appropriate charges were the petty offense violations of failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, improper passing of a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk, and driving too fast for conditions, as well as a fourth ticket for driving without prescription glasses (that charge was dismissed). Petty offenses are punishable only by a fine and court costs, and there is absolutely no jail sentence authorized by law.
Upon her plea of guilty to the three moving violations, after a sentencing hearing wherein the victim’s husband voiced his anger and his frustration that the motorist would not go to jail or be treated as a criminal in the face of the loss of his wife, the motorist was sentenced to pay fines, and judgments of conviction were entered on each of the three citations. This will result in the temporary loss of driving privileges as a result of having received convictions on three moving violations within a twelve month period, which may result in a driver’s license suspension of anywhere between three months to one year.
As terrible a tragedy as this case is, it is comforting to know that our justice system has remedies that address not just the loss to the victims, but the appropriate level of punishment for acts that are mere accidents of fate, and are not performed intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or negligently. While the grieving husband may be unhappy with the outcome in Traffic Court, he may further pursue remedies against the driver in the civil courts, in the form of a civil law suit for wrongful death.
If you are involved in an accident and have been issued citations, whether or not someone died as a result, you need a dedicated lawyer to represent you and protect your rights and interests in court. You need the knowledgeable lawyers at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC, so call us today at (800)996-4824 for a free consultation.