Driver Could Still Face Wrongful Death Suit Following Dismissal of Criminal Charges

Posted on October 5, 2015 at 12:46pm by

Photo of courtroomA judge dismissed texting while driving charges against a driver who fatally struck an elderly man crossing the street during his routine walk. The Upper Township drivers pled not guilty after she was indicted on charges of death by auto earlier this year.

On July 21, 2014, the driver had been traveling north on Route 9 when she hit the man crossing the street. It was the first death-by-auto case in Cape May County involving allegations of texting and driving.

According to authorities, the incident happened during the victim’s daily walk. There was more than 1,000 feet of visibility on that section of road, but police say there were no signs that the driver used her brakes before she struck and killed the man.

Phone records reportedly show that the driver sent a text at 6:46 p.m. and then received a text at 6:52, which is when police say the accident occurred. Assistant Prosecutor Dara Paley believes that “The 6:52 text message was the fatal text message.”

At 6:56 p.m. the driver sent four more text messages and made a phone call to her mother and one other number.

The driver’s defense attorney questioned the timeline given by Paley and the police, saying that the original timeline they gave misled the grand jury to think the driver had sent the four texts and made the phone calls prior to the accident. The defense argued that the “indictment was the result of misrepresentations presented to the grand jury based on a rush to get an indictment for texting while driving,”

In the end, the judge dismissed the case after ruling that the original timeline presented was misleading and greatly influenced the grand jury’s decision.

Regardless of the outcome of criminal charges, any family members grieving a wrongful death can pursue litigation on their own to recover damages.

Targan Pender & Strickland, P.C.Atlantic City personal injury lawyers



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