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Driver may face homicide charge after fatal hit-and-run

Police in Pennsylvania have reported that a 62-year-old woman lost her life on March 15 in a hit-and-run pedestrian accident. The woman was struck as she walked with her sister on the shoulder of Airport Road in Hanover Township at approximately 9:00 p.m. Responding emergency services personnel pronounced her dead at the scene.

A 33-year-old Allentown man was taken into custody in connection with the hit-and-run accident after police in Bethlehem noticed his badly damaged car. The man is said to have admitted to officers that he had been drinking, but he denied striking the woman. Charges including a felony count of causing an accident involving death were filed against the man after body parts of the decedent were found inside his vehicle. The pedestrian accident occurred between Catasauqua Road and Airport Center Road.

Some legal observers feel that charges against the man are likely to be upgraded. They believe that the facts of the case could merit a charge of homicide by vehicle. Such a charge requires evidence that a driver violated traffic laws and disregarded known risks. Police believe that the man swerved out of a marked traffic lane and onto the shoulder before striking the two women. The man was transported to Lehigh County Jail after being taken into custody. His bail has been set at $275,000.

Impaired motorists may face severe criminal penalties in Pennsylvania when they are involved in an accident resulting in serious injury or death, and a personal injury attorney may also file a civil lawsuit against them on behalf of the injured victims or the family members of the decedent. Such an action can be maintained whether or not the responsible driver is convicted of any criminal charges.

Source: Lehigh Valley Live, "Allentown man accused of grisly hit-and-run may face more serious charges, lawyers say", Precious Petty, March 16, 2015

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Gregory R. Gifford
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