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Montana 18-year-old faces homicide charge for DUI crash

More than one in 10 traffic crashes in Montana were linked to alcohol use in 2011, according to state records. Drivers under the legal drinking age were involved in over 300 of those accidents and seven related deaths. Careless and reckless drivers of all ages make poor decisions and take risks reasonable drivers don’t, like drugged or drunk driving.

A Butte teen is accused of killing a friend in a nighttime motor vehicle accident last Halloween. The 19-year-old victim was one of three passengers in the defendant’s Dodge Durango, when the driver lost control on an icy road. The vehicle left the roadway and plummeted down an embankment, with none of the occupants secured by seat belts.

The accident victim, a former high school athlete, was ejected from the Durango and suffered fatal injuries; he died at the crash site. The remaining male passengers, ages 19 and 30, were not injured seriously. Investigators learned the driver had been traveling too fast for conditions and was under the influence, although authorities didn’t state whether the intoxicant was drugs or alcohol.

The teen driver was charged with vehicular homicide while under the influence. Documents stated prosecutors could charge the defendant with negligent homicide instead; individuals convicted of either crime face severe penalties. The teen was required to wear an ankle monitor as part of his conditional release without bond.

Eighteen-year-olds are teens who’ve reached the age of majority. Teens can be charged with crimes and prosecuted and penalized as adults. In addition to criminal charges, a teen driver also may be held accountable for damages in a civil claim for personal injuries or wrongful deaths.

Surviving victims may recover compensation to pay for medical bills and wage losses, among other damages. Plaintiffs in wrongful death claims are immediate family members who receive jury awards for losses associated with a loved one’s death.

Source: Source: The Montana Standard, "Teen charged with vehicular homicide in crash that killed Central athlete," Angela Brandt, July 8, 2014
Additional info taken from client’s website: http://www.ramlerlaw.com/Personal-Injury-Overview/Drunk-Driving-Accident-Victim.shtml

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