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High speed and DUI car wreck -- jury says guilty of homicide

A 21-year-old male will have to wait until May 5 to know what his sentence is, after a jury found him guilty in a vehicular homicide case on Thursday, March 27. The Tennessee trial lasted for two days. The young man stayed calm during the verdict, although earlier, he testified that the deceased of the car wreck had been his best childhood friend. As they heard the verdict, several of his supporting family members were crying.

Testimony by several witnesses provided the facts of the case. The 2012 car wreck happened during the early hours of the morning, when the defendant left a party to go and get cigarettes. He allowed his 20-year-old best friend to get into the car with him despite knowing that he had too much to drink. Another friend from the party testified that his offer to drive was declined. The BMW in which the two young men were traveling hit a metal sign after the driver lost control and left the highway.

Police testimony clearly shows that the car was traveling at a high speed. The engine of the vehicle was found 45 feet from where the car stopped. The needle of the speedometer stuck at 85 mph, although from the skid marks it is estimated that the car was traveling at 91 mph when the driver started to brake. A field sobriety test could not be conducted, but a blood test showed that the defendant had a blood alcohol level of 0.14, well over the 0.08 limit in Tennessee.

Apart from the criminal charges of which the defendant has been found guilty, the surviving relatives of the deceased may opt to file a wrongful death claim. In Tennessee, the surviving relatives of a victim of a car wreck may file a wrongful death claim in order to recoup monetary damages arising from the car wreck. Damages awarded may assist the family of the deceased to better cope with the unexpected expenses, such as funeral and burial costs.

Source: Johnson City Press, "UPDATE: Carter jury finds driver guilty of vehicular homicide in 2012 fatal crash", John Thompson, March 27, 2014

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