A 25-year-old woman was killed in a fatal car accident that happened on a road south of Ashland on the morning of Sept. 19. Official reports indicate that the accident was a rollover that was precipitated by driver overcorrection while driving. The single-car accident also injured a 29-year-old man, who was behind the wheel of the pickup at the time of the crash.
Authorities say the man was traveling northbound on Birney Road when the wreck occurred. The accident, which happened 13 miles south of Ashland, occurred when the man veered off the road at about 2 a.m., according to incident reports.
The woman who died was trapped in the vehicle after the crash. The driver was apparently not wearing his seatbelt and was thrown from the pickup truck when it rolled. His condition has not been released to local media sources.
Authorities have indicated that alcohol was likely a factor in the accident. Considering the time at which the accident occurred, drowsy driving might also have played a role.
The male driver of the vehicle has not yet been charged in connection with the accident, but he may face drunk driving charges based on preliminary information released by local authorities. Police officers say that the investigation in the case is ongoing.
Even if the man does not face criminal sanctions in connection with the accident, he could be sued by the woman's family for wrongful death. This is especially true if it is determined that the man was driving under the influence of alcohol. That evidence would be critically important to winning a wrongful death suit.
Family members could pursue compensation for funeral expenses and medical costs, which could be especially high if the woman was treated at a hospital after the collision. Additionally, if the woman has dependents, the family could seek loss of companionship and loss of income claims in addition to pain and suffering.
Source: The Billings Gazette, "Ashland woman killed, man injured in morning rollover," staff reports, Sept. 19, 2012