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Fatal car accidents can devastate surviving family members

A year after a 30-year-old Missouri woman died an untimely death, her family may finally be able to see justice done. A district court recently found sufficient evidence to warrant the trial of the 32-year-old man who allegedly caused her death. It is not uncommon for criminal investigations into fatal car accidents to take considerable periods of time to complete.

The tragic accident occurred in Prairie Village on an October afternoon last year. According to evidence presented at the preliminary hearing, the accused man failed to pull over at a police stop, leading to a pursuit. The officer alleges that the driver increased his speed when he became aware of the siren and lights of the patrol car. He claims to have abandoned the chase when the other car's speed reached approximately 80 mph.

However, as the patrol car approached an intersection, the officer came upon a horrific accident that had taken place only moments before. It was reported that the deceased woman's car was stationary at a red traffic light when the speeding driver allegedly slammed into the rear end of her car. The impact sent her car careening into the intersection, causing several more collisions. The defendant apparently fled on foot and was apprehended a short time later.

The man has been in jail on a $200,000 bond since then and is now facing either first-degree felony murder or second-degree murder and aggravated battery, along with leaving the accident scene and obstruction of justice. Fatal car accidents typically cause devastation in the lives of surviving family members, who have to face high end-of-life expenses while mourning the death of their loved one. While it is not clear what the outcome of this trial will be, the family is entitled to pursue recovery of damages in a separate proceeding. They retain the right to file a wrongful death claim in a Missouri civil court and could be entitled to restitution to cover damages as allowed by state laws.

Source: kansascity.com, "Trial ordered in Prairie Village wreck that killed former Chiefs cheerleader", Tony Rizzo, Oct. 10, 2014

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