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Charges upgraded in fatal pedestrian crash

According to court documents, the charges against a man accused of striking and killing a pedestrian have been upgraded. Authorities reported that the accident occurred in Ocean Township on Nov. 10. The 33-year-old defendant was initially charged with leaving the scene of an accident and DUI causing serious bodily injury. After receiving medical treatment for several days, the 61-year-old man who was struck died from his injuries on Nov. 17.

The 33-year-old driver is now charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a fatal crash. His bail was increased to $250,000 from $150,000 as a result of the new charges. He remains in custody, apparently unable to post bail in the case.

Authorities reported that the defendant allegedly hit the pedestrian as the pedestrian walked along a highway shoulder. After striking him, the 33-year-old reportedly continued to drive for more than a mile before he was stopped by police. Police found that the victim was lodged halfway through the defendant's windshield. Witnesses who had called 911 indicated the man was driving erratically. The results of toxicology tests are still pending.

Pedestrian accidents can be especially serious since pedestrians do not have the protection of a vehicle frame around them. When a pedestrian is struck and killed by a negligent or reckless driver, his or her family may be able to hold the wrongful driver civilly liable for his or her actions in addition to any criminal penalties the driver might face. Families are often left with significant losses in the wake of their loved one's death, including medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering and loss of companionship. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit, families may be able to receive compensation for the losses they have suffered.

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel, "Man accused in fatal crash faces upgraded charges", November 19, 2014

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