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Kansas man denied release to probation after fatal car wreck

Drugs do not necessarily have to be illegal for them to have a huge impact on a person's life. A man who suffered a work-related injury to his back then became addicted to painkillers in Kansas as he tried to recover. While he was driving under the influence of these drugs, he was involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle. His truck drove over the centerline, veering sharply out of its own lane, and slammed into a sedan coming the other direction. By the time that authorities could get to the scene of the accident, the man in the sedan had died.

As a result, the driver faced charges for driving on the wrong side of the highway and driving under the influence of drugs. When he pleaded guilty to the involuntary manslaughter charges, however, the other charges were dropped.

This was not the man's first run-in with the law, as he had served time before for assaulting a police officer with his vehicle. He had also previously faced drug charges. Because of this, he was facing five and a half years in prison. He came before the judge to ask if his sentence could be reduced to probation, saying that he had been rehabilitated during the time he had already spent behind bars. His reason for wanting probation was that he wanted to work to help support his family.

The judge denied his request, sentencing him to five years and two months in prison, slightly less than the prosecution was asking for. However, the judge did say that he could be eligible to enter a work-release program in the future that would let him care for his family.

The families of those who have had loved ones pass away in auto accidents have a right to seek compensation from the at-fault driver. Such civil claims may include those for wrongful death, pain and suffering, loss of companionship and other damages.

Source: The Topeka Capital-Journal, "Motorist gets five-plus years in fatal head-on wreck in 2010" Steve Fry, Mar. 10, 2014

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