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Fatal motor vehicle accidents: Driver was allegedly drunk

A fatal crash on July 4, 2014, may see a man sent to prison after allegedly admitting to drinking and driving. The 26-year-old man was arrested by Colorado State Police and suspected of driving under the influence. Fatal motor vehicle accidents in which one or more drivers are believed to have been drunk are often accompanied by serious criminal consequences. 

The accident report says the man was driving his vehicle at an estimated 150 ,mph when the accident happened. He lost control of his vehicle, striking another car and then a tractor-trailer. Two passengers, a 24-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man, were killed in the collision. When emergency personnel arrived on the scene, the man apparently registered a blood alcohol level of .18 percent, which is well above the legal limit. 

The man now stands accused of 14 different charges, including several manslaughter and homicide charges, as well as DUI and DWI. Even if he is convicted of only the homicide charge, he could be facing between eight and 25 years in jail for his role in the accident. The presiding judge is still determining the evidence to which the jury will be given access at the trial. 

In fatal motor vehicle accidents in which alcohol has played a role, the criminal consequences can be extremely heavy. However, even if no conviction is made in this case, Colorado law will allow the families of the deceased to file wrongful death lawsuits in civil court. Even if evidence was not provided to a jury in a criminal court setting, that evidence may be able to be used to support the civil case. 

Source: timesunion.com, "Trooper: Driver in fatal Thruway crash admitted partying", Robert Gavin, Aug. 19, 2016

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