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SUV driver charged with homicide for rescuer's fatal accident

Reasons for traffic accidents seem straightforward until evidence tells a different story or adds a separate but critical chapter. Defendants in Pittsburg, Kansas, wrongful death claims are parties who may be held liable for negligent behavior. Sometimes, more than one defendant is responsible for a person's death.

An out-of-state woman was on probation for injuring three people in a 2010 collision, when she was involved in another accident in a nearby state. The 23-year-old driver crashed an SUV in an interstate construction zone. She survived with minor injuries, but the woman traveling with her suffered a head injury; there would be another victim.

The overturned Chevrolet Trailblazer caused a backup on the highway. A 51-year-old male driver, on his way to visit a daughter in college, pulled over after spotting the SUV. The man intended to help the accident victims but never got that far, because he was struck by a passing motorist and died.

State police detected the smell of alcohol and found beer bottles in the Trailblazer. The driver's blood alcohol content level was tested and registered 0.24 percent -- three times the state's legal limit. The driver had a revoked license and violated the rules of her probation.

The woman was jailed on $75,000 bail and charged with multiple crimes. Prosecutors charged the driver with careless prohibited driving, battery, DWI, driving on a revoked license and negligent homicide for the Good Samaritan's death.

The woman's 2010 accident led to a conviction for vehicular assault. At the time of the crash, the woman's BAC level was above 0.16 percent. Sentencing included imprisonment and simultaneous drug treatment followed by probation, which was revoked immediately after the recent fatal accident.

Drunk driving causes needless accidents, injuries and wrongful deaths. Kansas victims and families can petition a civil court for monetary relief from defendants who have been negligent or reckless. In some cases, punitive damages are added as punishment.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Woman charged after death of Wildwood good Samaritan in Arkansas crash" Joel Currier, Mar. 05, 2014

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