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Driver charged with murder faces wrongful death claim from widow

According to police reports, a 32-year-old man is accused of being intoxicated at the time of a deadly accident on May 5 that killed a Pennsylvania police officer. He currently faces several charges, including a third-degree murder charge in connection with the officer's death. Separately, the police officer's widow has filed a wrongful death claim against him and others.

The evidence suggests that the man consumed as many as nine 16-ounce beers after leaving a job site at around 7 p.m. in a work van. He and his co-worker -- who was also in the van at the time of the crash -- stopped at a strip club. Allegedly, it was obvious that the driver was drunk when they left the club.

Shortly before 2 a.m., he ended up heading east on U.S. Route 30 in the westbound lanes. After approximately four miles, he crashed head-on into the patrol vehicle the deceased officer was driving. The officer succumbed to fatal injuries suffered in the impact.

The driver's employer and the strip club were named as additional defendants in the wrongful death lawsuit. Both of these defendants assert they bear no responsibility for the accident. It will be up to a Pennsylvania civil court to make the final decision regarding liability for this crash. The plaintiff must establish that the driver was, in fact, negligent, and that his actions led to the officer's death; additional proof will be necessary for liability to attach to the employer or the strip club. Part of the evidence of the driver's negligence could come from the criminal proceedings -- especially if prosecutors are able to secure a conviction for a crime related to her husband's premature death.

Source: lancasteronline.com, "Officer's widow files wrongful death suit in wrong-way crash", Aug. 6, 2015

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