What starts out as a night of fun can quickly become a nightmare when drinking and driving. Thousands of people around the country, including in Louisiana, lose their lives every day because of drunk drivers. Accidents can happen at any time, but when drinking is involved, the possibility of a car wreck increases exponentially.
Police suspect that alcohol may have played a part in an accident that killed one 19-year-old and injured another. The 19-year-old driver was heading south on Louisiana 363 in the Grand Prairie area when he lost control on a curve, crossed the center line, careened into two cement culverts, flipped, and finally came to rest in a ditch. Even though the driver wasn’t wearing a seat belt, he was only injured. His passenger was not as lucky–he died at the scene of the accident.
Police have indicated that when the teenage driver is released from the hospital, he will be arrested on charges of vehicular homicide, reckless operation of a vehicle, no seat belt and open alcoholic beverage container. Apparently because of drinking and driving, two lives were forever altered that night. While the police complete their investigation and the driver recovers from his injuries, the family of the young man that died has to begin the excruciating process of trying to come to grips with the breadth of the tragedy.
While the driver faces the criminal proceedings against him, he will also have to deal with the possibility of a wrongful death claim from the family of his young passenger. Louisiana law permits such a civil claim when a fatality occurs through the negligent or intentional conduct of another. Whether the family chooses to pursue this avenue of relief remains to be seen, though they will likely look to the official report of the accident investigation as they consider their rights under state law in connection with this tragic car wreck.