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New England woman to be sentenced in motorcycle accident fatality

A New Hampshire court will soon hand down a sentence to a single mother accused of negligent homicide. Ashley Bailey, 27, was charged in January for her role in a motorcycle accident that killed a beloved Torrington realtor.

According to reports, the sixty-year old victim, Thomas Zappulla, was returning from Laconia Motorcycle Week when Bailey's Hyundai Alantra crossed the centerline and struck his motorcycle. Laconia is one of dozens of destinations to which motorcyclists from Hartford venture during the warmer summer months.

Prosecutors have alleged that Bailey's blood alcohol content at the time of the accident exceeded the legal limit. As a result, she is expected to plead guilty to one count of negligent homicide. The expected sentence will be two to five years.

In addition to her jail sentence, it is expected that expanded probation conditions will be placed upon Bailey once she is released. One of these conditions will be 100 community service hours. The victim's friends and family hope this requirement helps fill the void of community service left after Zappulla's passing.

With the conclusion of the criminal case pending, the victim's loved ones can put part of the ordeal behind them. However, most serious car accidents involving a catastrophic injury or death also have a civil component. While the family of a motorcycle accident victim may not be able to direct the criminal prosecution of the person who caused their loved one harm, they can assert control over a civil lawsuit.

Specifically, a wrongful death suit can result in compensation being awarded to surviving family members due to another person's negligent actions in causing the victim's death.

Source: Litchfield County Times, "Woman who Killed Torrington Realtor TJ Zappulla in Motorcycle Crash Will Receive Prison Sentence in November," Jessica Glenza, Sept. 22, 2013

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