2 killed in fatal motorcycle crash; car driver charged

A man from Ossining, New York, has been charged with vehicular homicide and other felonies after he allegedly struck and killed a couple on a motorcycle on the New York State Thruway.

Following the early morning accident, the man reportedly fled from police. He was found later that day with a blood alcohol content level of 0.07 percent. The police estimate that the man's blood alcohol content level would have been 0.15 percent at the time of the crash. In addition, the man is alleged to have been trying to send a text message at the time of the accident.

In car accidents such as this one where criminal activities such as drunk driving are believed to have occurred, the district attorney's office may choose to pursue criminal charges. Families of the victims of fatal accidents may also choose to pursue civil action against a drunk or negligent driver via a wrongful death claim. Civil actions don't result in jail time, but rather in monetary compensation from the driver who caused the accident or from his or her insurance company.

The standard of proof is different in civil court than it is in a criminal case. Instead of having to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt as with a criminal case, civil court cases are decided by a preponderance of evidence. New York has a statute of limitation for filing wrongful death claims of two years.

Monetary damages that may be awarded from a wrongful death claim include such things as any medical expenses between the accident and the death, as well as loss of future income, loss of companionship and pain and suffering.

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