Drunk driver on trial for crash he was not directly involved in
According to Fox News, the defendant was driving on the Long Island Expressway early one morning in October 2012 when he hit a car. He allegedly stopped in the high-occupancy lane about 1,500 feet down the road, where he was hit by another car and turned sideways.
A police officer responded quickly to the accident scene. After he arrived, an SUV crashed into the defendant’s disabled car, bounced off and struck the officer, who was killed.
The defendant was later charged with several counts, including drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter. Though he was not driving when the officer was killed, the prosecution contends that he was driving “wildly, recklessly and drunk,” turning the expressway “into his own drunken speedway.” His blood-alcohol level was reportedly 0.13, well over the legal limit.
In her closing arguments, an assistant district attorney said this negligence was the precipitating cause of the deadly final crash. This is an unusual legal argument, in which the defendant is being held responsible under the theory that he could have reasonably foreseen the result of his actions.
Initially, the defendant successfully got the charges dismissed, but prosecutors prevailed on appeal.
On the civil law side, anyone who negligently contributes to a serious wreck can be held accountable. An example of this is a bar or restaurant that knowingly overserves alcohol to a customer and lets him or her drive drunk.