A crash that authorities suspect was a drunk driving accident took the life of a 30-year-old New York man when he was riding his bicycle home from work. The man was apparently riding home from his job at the Frito-Lay plant shortly after 3 a.m. when he was hit by a 34-year-old driver.
Police have charged the driver who hit the bicyclist with DWI. This charge will be a felony because the suspect has a previous DWI conviction. Police do not know whether the suspect has retained a lawyer, and there is no word on whether any other charges may be filed against him for his involvement in this apparent drunk driving accident.
A fatal bicycle accident is always tragic, but it is doubly so when the vehicle's driver could have easily prevented the injuries. In this case, the fact that the man was driving drunk may well have caused the crash that took this innocent man's life. It is very important that the driver be held accountable for his actions so that he never places anyone else's life in danger.
Unfortunately, leaving that responsibility to the criminal justice system may be a mistake. The man already had one DWI conviction but was again behind the wheel and drinking, indicating that perhaps the punishment for the first offense did not deter him from repeating that kind of dangerous behavior. In this case, a civil suit for wrongful death against the driver that results in a large judgment may have more impact than criminal charges that are difficult to prosecute and punishments that are even more difficult to enforce.
Source: myfoxny.com, "Police: NY bicyclist killed by drunk driver," Jan. 20, 2013