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Pedestrian couple killed by SUV

Boston authorities were investigating a multiple-vehicle crash that occurred shortly after 9 p.m. on June 21 in which two pedestrians were killed. The victims were a 28-year-old man and his 27-year-old girlfriend, both from Brookline.

The couple were reportedly starting to cross Beacon Street at its intersection with Fairfield Street when an SUV drove through a red light. Although witness accounts were inconclusive regarding which vehicle struck the other, the SUV collided with a silver sedan and then rolled over, hitting the victims before it came to rest against a parked Mini Cooper.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene, and the woman was transported to Brigham and Women's Hospital where she was later pronounced dead. Two people involved in the accident were taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries that were not life-threatening.

The SUV had two occupants: a 26-year-old woman and a 29-year-old man. Authorities initially believed the woman, who does not have a valid U.S. driver's license, to be the driver and planned to arraign her on two counts of vehicular homicide and lesser related charges while charging her passenger with misleading investigators for allegedly taking credit for driving the SUV. However, both were later released without charges, pending further criminal investigation; authorities attributed their need for postponement to contradictory information from witnesses.

Although having multiple witnesses might strengthen a plaintiff's case when their accounts are consistent, conflicting details of a fatal accident could complicate both criminal and civil efforts. Taking care to initiate a wrongful death action against the correct party might be important to avoid an unfavorable judgment that would be precluded from further litigation.

Source: Boston Globe, "Woman freed, not charged in fatal crash in Back Bay", Evan Allen, June 24, 2014

Source: WCVB, "Couple killed in horrific Back Bay crash<", June 22, 2014

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