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Father of unlicensed driver in fatal accident enters guilty pleas

Aug. 30, 2014 is most likely a day that the families of three dead teens would like to forget. That was the day that a Pennsylvania man allowed his 15-year-old daughter -- who did not have a driver's license -- to drive his car with her friends in order to get some breakfast ("15-year-old girl behind the wheel in fatal Poconos crash," Sept. 4, 2014). On July 9, 2015, he entered guilty pleas to several misdemeanors in connection with the fatal accident that occurred that day.

The Pennsylvania man initially denied knowing that his daughter took his car, but when he was in court recently, he admitted that he lied. He was originally charged with felonies, but pleaded to lesser offenses including reckless endangerment (three counts) and involuntary manslaughter (three counts). He could spend up to 21 years in prison and owe fines of $54,000 if he receives the maximum. His sentencing is currently scheduled for Aug. 20. His daughter was found guilty of crimes in a juvenile court.

There were six people in the vehicle, including the teenage driver, at the time of the single-vehicle accident. Three 15-year-old boys died and another of the vehicle's occupants suffered serious injuries. The driver and one other passenger walked away uninjured.

The plea agreement did not seem to provide the victims' families the sense of justice they were seeking. They may be able to find some closure and peace regarding this tragic fatal accident through wrongful death claims. The convictions secured in the criminal proceedings could provide the evidence necessary to establish negligence on the part of the girl and her father. Successfully litigated claims could result in monetary judgments.

Source: USA Today, "Dad pleads guilty in fatal crash by unlicensed daughter", Alex Taylor, July 10, 2015

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