An 18-year-old driver has been arrested and charged in connection with a fatal Georgia car accident. The teen hit and killed a man outside of a police station on Sept. 17 after he had been released from a holding cell. The driver left the scene, and, after an anonymous tip from Crime Stoppers, police were able to locate her and bring her into custody.
The defendant admitted to hitting the man when she faced a magistrate judge via teleconference on Sept. 23 but claimed that she had done everything she could to avoid the collision. The teen said that the reason she failed to stop was because she had been preoccupied with family issues, specifically her mother's cancer.
After the accident, police found the car in Alabama. The vehicle had been dismantled and sanded down, but the defendant says that she was not trying to destroy evidence; she asserted that the car was only being serviced. At the time of the report, she was being held without bail.
As the criminal case against the driver develops, the family of the victim may choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the 18-year-old driver to recover damages related to loss of companionship, loss of wages and pain and suffering. A lawyer working with the civil case may be able to use the criminal charges against the driver as evidence of liability. That lawyer may negotiate a settlement from the defendant, and, in cases where a settlement cannot be reached, pursue the claim in civil court.
Source: The Republic, "Ga. teen arrested in fatal hit, run crash outside police station", September 23, 2013