A North Carolina teen who accidentally put her SUV in the wrong gear is now facing serious criminal charges. Her actions caused her boyfriend to die from massive head injuries. The 19-year-old is facing a charge of DUI manslaughter after blood tests showed alcohol and marijuana in her system. Her blood alcohol content registered at 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit.
The fatal drunk driving accident happened in November 2013. The woman and her 22-year-old boyfriend were arguing. She was inside her vehicle and went to leave when, instead of putting the SUV in reverse, she went forward and hit her boyfriend. The impact knocked him down. He died 10 days later from head injuries. The woman was put in jail but is now free on $100,000 bail.
Was this simply a tragic accident or did the woman hit the man on purpose? Anger, combined with alcohol, can sometimes cause people to do horrible things. It’s not common for drivers to mistake the “drive” gear for the “reverse” gear, but it has happened in other situations before. In any case, the woman faces liability for her boyfriend’s death.
When a drunk driver’s negligence causes serious injuries or death, the victims or their families can sue for personal injury or wrongful death. This is in addition to any criminal charges the person may face. These civil lawsuits cannot put a person in prison, but they can bring about closure to a grieving family. They can also force the negligent party to pay compensation for damages. Damages may include medical bills, funeral expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Source: Jacksonville.com, “19-year-old charged with DUI manslaughter after she struck and killed her boyfriend with SUV in gear mess-up,” June 27, 2014.