Accidents that result in someone's death are undeniably tragic, but especially so when the crash results in multiple deaths. A recent double-fatal motorcycle accident was made even worse when the driver of the car that collided with the motorcycle left the scene.
Two men from Pittston Township, Pennsylvania, both age 39, lost their lives one night early last month on state Route 315. A car making a turn into a fast-food restaurant parking lot collided with the motorcycle the men were riding. But instead of stopping to check on the men's welfare, the driver of the Buick fled the area, according to Luzerne County and Pittston Township investigators.
Police recently identified that driver as a 49-year-old man from Jenkins Township. He has multiple DUI convictions on his record and his license has been suspended since 2008 as a result. Investigators also say he has previously been jailed on drug offenses. His inability to legally drive a car offers one possible explanation for why he fled the scene. But if it turns out he's guilty, he's only added to his own troubles. He's been hit with several charges, including driving with a suspended license, careless driving causing unintentional death and tampering with evidence.
The tampering charge comes from allegations that police saw the driver and a friend power-washing the damaged Buick several hours after the crash. The friend, who was also charged with tampering with evidence, said he didn't know about the fatal crash or that the car was involved.
In cases of hit-and-run accidents that seriously injure or kill someone, the victims' families are left with little recourse and the financial and emotional recovery is made much more difficult. The fact that the driver in this case has been identified means that the loved ones of the motorcycle riders can opt to file a wrongful death lawsuit, regardless of the outcome of the driver's criminal case. But if he is convicted of the charges against him, it could have a positive effect on any subsequent civil lawsuits stemming from the crash.
Source: The Sunday Dispatch, "Charges filed in Pittston Twp. double fatal," Edward Lewis, Sept. 19, 2012
· Our law firm handles situations similar to the one described in this post. To learn more about our practice, visit our Harrisburg motorcycle accident page.