A 20-year-old Connecticut man was killed after he was hit while jogging on Route 17 in North Haven on the afternoon of July 16 by an alleged drunk driver in a pickup truck. The runner had a leg amputated, but he died the following day from his injuries.
The 72-year-old driver who hit the runner was arrested following several field sobriety tests. Police say that they stopped the tests because they were afraid the man would injure himself.
The man claimed that he had consumed only one beer and that the jogger ran in front of his car, but witnesses’ accounts contradict his story. According to them, the man’s car swerved left and then right before hitting the runner. The man has been taken into custody and charged with assault with a motor vehicle and driving while under the influence; he was slated to appear before a judge July 17.
The family of the jogger who was killed may be eligible to bring a civil suit against the driver if they choose. Following a pedestrian accident of this type, a driver may be sued for negligence whether or not their actions rise to the level of criminal prosecution. Even if this driver is found not guilty of the charges against him, the civil case can proceed.
Finding negligence in a civil case requires a lower burden of proof than a criminal case. Negligence may mean failing to take reasonable care. Therefore, this means that even if the man cannot be shown to have been drunk, if he was driving recklessly, that may be considered negligence.
The family may sue to recover funeral expenses and other costs. In some cases, families may ask for an amount that covers damages such as lost wages if the individual killed was supporting dependents.
Source: WFSB, “North Haven jogger struck by truck, dies”, Joseph Wenzel IV, Matt McFarland, Kim Lucey and Ka, July 17, 2014