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Police say former officer was driving 100 mph in fatal DUI crash

Philadelphia residents may recall news of a deadly September crash involving a former police sergeant. The officer is accused of being intoxicated and driving more than 100 miles per hour when his vehicle hit a van on State Road in Northeast Philadelphia. The van driver, a 55-year-old father of four, suffered traumatic head injuries and died three days after the collision.

Recently, after hearing testimony from a woman who was in the officer's vehicle at the time of the accident, a judge ruled that there is enough evidence for the former officer to be prosecuted on a number of charges, including drunk driving and vehicular homicide.

A prosecutor said that the former officer's blood-alcohol content tested at 0.10 percent. The prosecutor also pointed out that the speed limit where the crash happened is 35 miles per hour.

The woman who testified said that she and the officer had been drinking together at a bar prior to the collision.

In addition to the criminal charges, the deceased victim's family has the option of seeking justice through a wrongful death claim. Pennsylvania dram shop law allows for drunk drivers and the bars that serve them to held accountable for injuries and deaths resulting from the drunk driver's actions.

A criminal conviction isn't necessary for a family to bring a wrongful death lawsuit, but the evidence presented in a criminal case may bolster the family's claim. This sort of legal action can never heal the emotional damage caused by a fatal auto accident, but a wrongful death claim can lead to relief from financial burdens resulting from the crash.

Source: Philly.com, "Fired Phila. officer to be tried for vehicular homicide," Mark Fazlollah, Feb. 6, 2014

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