Some may recall the Connecticut mother who pushed her seven-year-old daughter to safety before she was struck and killed in a hit-and-run incident. The 40-year-old woman was crossing Springdale Avenue in Meriden with her daughter when she spotted the oncoming vehicle and reacted.
Struck while standing on the road's yellow double center line, the woman ended up under a parked SUV where emergency responders found her. She was taken to the local MidState Medical Center with serious head and chest wounds before being airlifted to Hartford Hospital. Police are currently looking for a Nissan car with a missing side mirror (which was found at the scene of the collision) with possible damage to the front left quadrant of the car.
When a driver is knowingly involved in a car crash, they are legally required to stop at the scene. At that time they should call 911 for help if someone is injured, and they should at the very least share license and insurance information with other drivers (if any) involved. If no other driver was injured or involved in the accident, the driver must still report the incident to the local authorities if there is property damage.
Failing to stop is cause for much greater penalties under New York's Vehicle & Traffic Law 600 hit and run charge. Penalties for failure to stop include a fine of $250 and up to 15 days in jail. Drivers will also get 3 points added to their driving record, and car insurance will go up as well. Drivers with a commercial license will lose their license (and all driving privileges) for one year.
If someone is injured in the hit-and-run, the fleeing driver will face criminal prosecution. In most circumstances it's a Class A misdemeanor with fines between $500 and $1000. If the driver has been in a previous hit-and-run incident it's a Class E felony, which is punishable for up to four years in prison and fines of $1000 to $2500. If a person is seriously injured in a hit-and-run, the Class E felony goes up to $5000 with other attached penalties.
The stakes again go up considerably if there is a death resulting from the accident, whether it's vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide. This Class B, C or D felony has fines ranging from $1000 to $5000 with additional penalties resulting on the severity of the offense - Class B is up to 25 years imprisonment, while Class D is up to 7 years.
Reasons for these tragic accidents can vary from falling asleep behind the wheel to negligent driving (this can even include taking your eyes off the road for a brief second to adjust the radio) to operating a vehicle while above the legal limit for drugs or alcohol.
Perhaps mistakes were made leading up and after to the accident, but it's a step in the right direction to discuss your defense options with a knowledgeable defense lawyer. Strong legal representation could be the difference between prosecution to the fullest extent of the law and reduced charges.