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Court assesses drunk driver prison time after fatal crash

On Sept. 9, a Massachusetts superior court sentenced a 30-year-old Dalton man to prison in connection with a drunk-driving accident in 2012 that took the life of a 48-year-old man. Reportedly, the guilty plea was part of a plea agreement.

According to authorities, the 2012 accident transpired on Oct. 24 at approximately 11:50 p.m. That is when the Dalton man ran a red light at the intersection of Franklin and Grafton Streets and hit a pickup truck driven by the 48-year-old man. Purportedly, the Dalton man was driving recklessly and at a high rate of speed. The force of the crash caused the pickup truck to flip. The 48-year-old man died as a result of the incident, authorities stated. According to court records, the Dalton man's blood alcohol content level was .24 percent at the time of the incident.

The 30-year-old Dalton man entered a guilty plea to charges of motor vehicle homicide while DUI and driving so as to endanger. In exchange, prosecutors dropped two charges, manslaughter and vehicular homicide with negligence while intoxicated. The court sentenced the 30-year-old man to five to six years in state prison with probation for three years.

While the plea agreement in this case allowed the 30-year-old driver to obviate the penalties that accompany additional charges, it does not preclude the man from being named as a defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit filed in connection with the 2012 accident. For, certain family members of victims in fatal accidents caused by another party's actionable behavior, such as driving recklessly or under the influence of alcohol, have the right to pursue civil action against the at-fault party, irrespective of whether any criminal charges have been filed in relation to the same accident. In this way, bereaved family members may seek restitution for economic damages they suffered as a result of the sudden and unnatural death of their loved one.

Source: Telegram, "Driver gets 5-6 years in 2012 crash that killed Worcester man", Gary V. Murray, September 09, 2014

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