Most people understand the general safety precautions one should take before and during the operation of any motor vehicle. In particular, virtually everyone has heard frequent warnings about the potential for motor vehicle accidents caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Unfortunately, some drivers continue to ignore the warnings and get behind the wheel after imbibing. Often, this type of irresponsible behavior ends badly, with one or more people seriously injured or killed. Such was the case in a 2018 crash that ended with a fatality and the West Virginia man responsible serving prison time for several DUI-related charges.
Reportedly, the crash occurred in southern Berkeley County late in 2018 when the driver lost control on a curve and struck two trees. A 43-year-old man who was a passenger in the vehicle died at the scene. Following the incident, the driver faced several charges. According to the Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney, he pleaded guilty to DUI resulting in death and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, among other charges.
The man was sentenced to three to 15 years in prison, in accordance with the terms of a plea agreement allowing him to serve several prison terms concurrently. However, the judge in the case has recommended he serve the full 15-year sentence. The man was also fined $7,100.
While this driver is certainly paying the price for his reckless actions, a victim’s surviving family has the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit through the civil justice system following motor vehicle accidents like this one. Such action is considered separate to any criminal charges. West Virginia residents who have lost a loved one due to the negligent or reckless actions of another party often choose to speak with an attorney experienced in this area of the law. He or she can provide valuable insight regarding options moving forward.