Are a few beers worth taking the life of a cyclist?
Last Saturday, a young man was driving drunk when he struck a bicyclist and then quickly fled the scene, according to police. The cyclist, a 47 year-old male taking part in the28th annual E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park triathlon, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver, who had a previous DUI (driving under the influence) charge, plead "not guilty" during his arraignment Monday. The long list of charges consisted of:
- – murder
- – drunken driving
- – assault on a police officer
- – fleeing and resisting arrest
- – leaving the scene of an accident
- – operating a vehicle under a suspended license.
But, unless there is a guilty plea, the citation given by the police to the defendant drunk driver may not be used in Court in the civil personal injury trial. In this case, since the driver is pleading not guilty, it is important for the injured biker’s lawyers to do their own, independent investigation into the facts of the case. This should be done as soon as possible, and a transcript from the Traffic Court Hearing should be arranged and paid for in advance. Although the police citation cannot be used, the transcript can be used, since the testimony is under oath, and there may be witness testimony that could help the biker’s wrongful death case.
One of the problems in a case where there are no witnesses, or one party involved is killed is it becomes very difficult to prove the facts of the accident. So it is vital that the lawyer investigates the scene and gets a hold of any witnesses, before the driver’s traffic court hearing.