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Driver not charged in fatal accident outside Hartford

Police in Wethersfield have confirmed that the driver involved in a fatal pedestrian accident will not be charged. The accident occurred last month on Wolcott Hill Road. A 72-year-old woman was killed as she crossed the street from the Bliss Market shopping center. After a thorough investigation, authorities concluded that pedestrian error, not the driver, cause the fatal accident.

A spokesman for the police department reported that the decision to not charge the driver was due, in part, to the fact that the vehicle was going below the speed limit when the accident occurred. The result of the investigation, though, has many in the community, south of Hartford, upset.

The victim of the accident was a beloved Filipino immigrant that locals had nicknamed "Mommy." While some concede that she may have erred in crossing the street when she did, they also believe that the driver should share in liability. If nothing else, the community is calling for upgrades to traffic control devices for the intersection at issue.

While local authorities are not charging the driver with a crime, the victim's family may still have recourse. A civil cause of action is separate and distinct from a criminal charge. In accidents like these the driver may be liable in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family. In addition, other parties, including the city, may be liable if they contributed to the accident or an unsafe condition.

Those in an accident should not simply accept the results of a governmental investigation. They may not be applicable to a civil suit or may even omit other potentially liable parties. Telling the story to a local expert can be the difference between relief for the family or not.

Source: The Hartford Courant, "No Charges in Fatal Wethersfield Accident," Christopher Hoffman, Nov. 27, 2012

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