Knoxville residents may have been surprised to learn that a paralyzed man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison in connection with a fatal car accident that took the life of another man. The sentencing took place on Oct. 4. The 52-year-old man pleaded guilty back in April to charges of felony possession of a firearm while under the influence, violation of the open container law and breaking various drivers’ license laws. But the charge that netted the most time was vehicular homicide in which a 49-year-old man was killed. The car accident occurred when the paralyzed man used tobacco sticks taped to the brake and gas pedal to operate his vehicle.
The New Market man, who is paralyzed from the waist down, has to use a wheelchair to get around. In addition to the above convictions, the man also has five prior DUI convictions. The vehicular homicide conviction for which the man was just sentenced occurred in February of 2009 when police discovered the body of the 49-year-old man in his driveway. Police later determined that the paralyzed man had been responsible for the death.
According to police, the cause of the man’s paralysis was an earlier car accident, and the sticks that were used to operate the vehicle in the deadly 2009 incident were reported to be the same as those used in curing tobacco.
While the man convicted of this tragedy may be on his way to prison, the family of the deceased individual may seek to hold him financially responsible for the wrongful death he caused. Residents of Knoxville, as elsewhere, are entitled to a reasonable degree of safety. The law specifically provides for the right of victims and the surviving family of those who have been killed to recover monetary damages for the negligent or reckless actions of others that caused or contributed to the accident. An experienced personal injury attorney may be able to answer important questions and seek to hold those responsible for similar tragedies to the fullest extent of the law.
Source: The Republic “Paralyzed Tenn. man charged with vehicular homicide gets 12-year term-used sticks to run car,” Oct. 5, 2011