Most pedestrians should feel totally safe when they are walking on a walkway designated for pedestrians and protected from the adjacent highway by a concrete barrier. Unfortunately in a Washington pedestrian accident the day after Christmas, this proved not to be the case.
One pedestrian was killed and another injured when a suspected drunken driver drove onto a pedestrian walkway on U.S. Highway 2 and hit the two pedestrians, killing one, reports the Washington State Patrol.
In the media release, the WSP says that Darren Streeter, 47, of Chehalis, fell 40 feet to his death after he was hit by a vehicle driven by an unidentified 24-year-old Everett man.
Streeter and his companion, Thereesa Dubs, 55, were walking on a pedestrian walkway adjacent to U.S. 2 and separated by a concrete barrier when the Everett man drove his vehicle through an obstacle course of a dirt berm and around some metal pylons, striking Dubs with the vehicle’s mirror and hitting Streeter.
The patrol has not identified the driver at this writing but it is suspected that he may have been under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana at the time of the accident. He is being treated for serious leg injuries at a local hospital.
The Everett man most likely will be charged with Vehicular Homicide and Vehicular Assault. Washington state vehicle code RCW 46.61.520 states that a person can be charged with Vehicular Homicide if a person is killed in a motor vehicle accident and the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol, driving recklessly or driving with reckless disregard to the safety of others.
If a DUI Driver is Prosecuted in Criminal Court, Will The Victim’s Family Still Be Able to Receive Compensation?
When a negligent driver is charged with a criminal offense such as Vehicular Homicide, he might accept a plea agreement and be sentenced or opt for a jury trial. In cases where the negligent driver is sentenced to prison, will the victim’s family be able to be compensated with financial damages for their loss?
In the state of Washington, the victim’s family may file a “wrongful death” suit in civil court. The state has a wrongful death statute which allows the family of the deceased to file a lawsuit on behalf of their loved one.
A successful wrongful death lawsuit can seek compensatory damages which would compensate for medical and funeral expenses as well as economic suppurt and compensation for loss. Punitive damages may also be awarded in wrongful death cases when the defendant was especially reckless like driving while intoxicated.
A Bellevue wrongful death lawyer with experience in these types of cases can assist a family in negotiating the wrongful death statute.
If you believe you have a wrongful death case, the Bellevue Washington personal injury attorneys at The Farber Law Group can provide you with a free initial consultation to discuss the merits of your case.