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Man charged in fatal crash that left one man dead on I-78

Lehigh Valley residents who knew about the fatal July 26 accident on Interstate 78 will not be surprised to hear that the Pennsylvania State Police have now charged a 21-year-old man with homicide by vehicle in connection with the crash. This incident would be tragic enough if it stopped right here, but the facts surrounding the crash make it even more sad, especially for the family of the deceased, who was the passenger in the charged man's car.

According to police, the suspect was driving the wrong way (west) on I-78 when the accident happened at around 4 a.m. A tractor-trailer heading east was not able to avoid the approaching vehicle. As the collision occurred, the passenger in the suspect's vehicle was ejected and died at the scene. Police report that the suspect's blood alcohol content was 0.25, more than three times the legal limit of .08 percent.

On Oct. 12, the man was charged with homicide by vehicle while intoxicated, homicide by vehicle and drunken driving. He was also charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and driving the wrong way. He was released on $50,000 unsecured bail.

When this type of negligent conduct results in injury or death to another person, the victim's family may have legal options they can pursue in civil court for monetary damages. And while a criminal conviction will not bring back the life of their loved one, it could bolster claims made in a wrongful death lawsuit and send a signal that people will be held responsible for their reckless actions.

Source: Lehigh Valley Live, "Upper Nazareth Township driver charged in crash that killed Russian passenger," JD Malone, Oct. 12, 2011

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