For Phoenix, Arizona, residents, the roads can be dangerous without someone taking malicious action. When a person is injured by the direct and purposeful driving of another, the injured party not only has a right to seek compensation, but the driver may be charged criminally. Whether malicious action or unfortunate circumstances were at the center of a car accident that killed a man Jan. 25 will be a matter for the court.
The incident reportedly occurred after a 20-year-old man and his 20-year-old girlfriend argued. The woman told police they were on their way home when the argument occurred. She said the 20-year-old man walked away from the vehicle; at some point, she began driving around looking for him.
The woman told officers that she did consume some alcohol the night before the incident while at a desert party. Authorities believe the accident that killed the man occurred between 2 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 25. The man was found dead at 8:30 a.m. by a morning jogger.
Investigators state the man was hit by a vehicle, which caused him to be thrown against a nearby electrical box. That impact killed him. The woman states that while driving around looking for the man, she lost control of her car while using her phone. It was at that time, says the woman, that she entered the shoulder area and hit what she thought was a pole.
The man's friends provided police with contradictory information to part of the woman's story. They stated the man had been visiting her at her apartment. After fighting with her, he left to walk home. Police have charged the woman with fleeing an accident scene.
Regardless of whether the woman hit the man on purpose or was negligent in an unfortunate incident, it is possible a civil jury would hold her accountable for compensation to the victim's family. When someone is hurt in a vehicle accident, criminal charges are not a required component for a civil claim.
Source: CBS5AZ.com, "Phoenix-area man struck by car, girlfriend arrested" Shawn Kline, Jan. 27, 2014