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Driver found not guilty in fatal car accident; family outraged

Friends and family of the victims of a fatal car accident are struggling to understand how the driver responsible for the tragic accident has escaped criminal conviction in the case. The driver, a 35-year old Colorado woman, was charged with five counts of criminally negligent homicide as well as two counts of child abuse stemming from the fatal car accident. On Friday, June 15 a Colorado jury found her not guilty on all charges.

The accident took place on Feb. 17, 2011 when the driver lost control of her SUV, which landed on top of a pickup truck that held a husband and wife and all three of their small children. The family of five was killed instantly in the crash. The driver of the SUV had her two daughters with her in the vehicle, which led to the charges of child abuse.

The resulting court case revolved on testimony that the woman was aware that she had a neurological condition that caused her to suffer a seizure-like episode just prior to the crash. Testimony revealed that the driver had suffered at least two prior seizure events. She testified that she did not follow through and see a specialist because she was fearful that she may be diagnosed with a brain tumor or other serious illness.

Family and friends of the victims have been very vocal about the verdict, and believe that the loss of their loved ones was entirely preventable. They are shocked that the court did not find negligence on the part of a driver who knew that she had a potentially dangerous condition, but chose to drive anyway. This case has garnered a great deal of attention in the Colorado press, and many residents are waiting to see if the family will pursue a civil lawsuit for wrongful death in the case. Many drivers responsible for a fatal car accident are not convicted in criminal court but are found liable in civil suits brought by the family of the deceased based on claims of negligence.

Source: TheDenverChannel.com, "Driver Found Not Guilty In Fatal Thornton Crash," Kim Nguyen, June 15, 2012

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