On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in wrongful death on Saturday, September 29, 2012.
As many of us in Ohio know, drunk driving can result in injuries or death. Law enforcement officials are charged with removing drunk drivers from the road if an officer determines that a driver is impaired. If an officer fails to do his duty and a fatal accident results, it may be possible for the family of the deceased to seek compensation for wrongful death from the relevant authorities.
Recently, two Delaware County deputies and a state trooper were charged with misdemeanors under the Ohio Revised Code for failing to prevent or halt an offense when it was in the officers’ power to do so. The basis for this charge is a drunk driving incident that occurred on July 28.
The two county deputies found a 22-year-old male intoxicated behind the wheel of his truck, which was parked on an I-71 median in Delaware County. The vehicle’s engine was running.
Video of the incident revealed that one of the deputies thought that the man behind the wheel of the truck was intoxicated, but neither deputy thought they could arrest the man because he wasn’t actually driving the vehicle when they found him. While investigating the situation, the deputies were joined by a state trooper.
Instead of arresting the intoxicated man, who is a native of Mexico, the three officers decided to drive him to a nearby Taco Bell. The deputies reasoned that the Taco Bell would have someone who could interpret for the man. The intoxicated man did not have a driver’s license, so the officers believed that the best way to handle the situation was to leave him at the restaurant and have someone pick him up.
Soon after the man was dropped off at the Taco Bell by the officers, the store manager called 911 to complain the intoxicated man. Shortly after this, the man was hit by a car as he walked along Rt. 36/37. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
The negligent parties in fatal car accidents are not always obvious. Occasionally, a third party will bear some culpability. The families of wrongful death victims often have to wait until a full investigation is completed before determining who may be a responsible party. In the meantime, speaking to an experienced wrongful death attorney may be helpful.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch, “Deputies, trooper charged with failure to arrest drunk they left at Taco Bell,” Ally Marotti, Sept. 15, 2012