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Man avoids state prison, gets county jail term for fatal crash

Some of the most serious vehicle accidents occur when a driver chooses to drive through a red light. The danger is only multiplied when a driver involved in a serious car accident was traveling at excessive speeds. On Oct. 29, a Washington Township, Pennsylvania, man was sentenced to jail time for causing a woman's death after he sped through a red light.

The 35-year-old man pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charges of involuntary manslaughter and to summary charges for running a red light and speeding. Because the man pleaded guilty to those offenses, prosecutors dropped far more serious felony charges of felony homicide by vehicle and aggravated assault by vehicle.

A judge sentenced the man to one to two years in county jail, reducing a day off both of the minimum and maximum sentences so the defendant could avoid state prison, the newspaper reported.

The deadly collision occurred in May 2011, killing the wife of a Bethlehem police officer. According to state police, the defendant was speeding in his work van while traveling on Mauch Chunk Road, which was wet from recent rainfall. He ran a red light on Levans Road, causing his van to smash into the woman's sedan. She died of her injuries two weeks later. The posted speed was 35 mph, but the man's van was traveling between 46 and 50 mph, prosecutors said.

Nothing can bring back a loved one, but survivors of those killed in car accidents should be aware of their rights to possible compensation in a court of law. The fact that he has admitted culpability could strengthen a civil case against him.

Source: The Morning Call, "Man gets jail for fatal crash," Kevin Amerman, Oct. 29, 2012

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