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Investigation into wrongful death of passenger in car accident

Patricia M. Jarzobski

One woman is dead and a man is in serious condition following a wrong-way crash on Highway 550, according to state police. Colorado authorities were called to the scene of the two-car accident that claimed the life of an 89-year-old female passenger in one of the vehicles. So far, no criminal charges have been filed against either driver, but a wrongful death suit might still be possible in civil court. 

According to the accident report, a 67-year-old woman was driving her vehicle southbound on Highway 550 when, for reasons unknown, she drifted into the oncoming lane. This caused a head-on crash with a northbound vehicle driven by a 57-year-old man. The force of the impact killed the woman's 89-year-old passenger, who was pronounced dead at the scene by responding medical personnel.

The male driver of the other vehicle sustained serious injuries and was rushed to a local hospital. The female driver was not hurt in the crash, and for the moment, police do not believe drugs, alcohol or unsafe speed were factors leading to the accident. However, their investigation is still underway at this time. 

In fatal car accidents, criminal charges are not always filed against drivers involved if police find no reason to believe there to be criminal intent, negligence or recklessness, or intoxication. However, this does not mean the family of the deceased and any injured parties do not have legal recourse. Wrongful death and personal injury suits can be filed against one or more drivers in Colorado civil court, provided evidence exists of their material contribution to the accident. 

Source: nbc11news.com, "Woman, 89, killed in car crash on Hwy 550", Jay Greene, Jan. 19, 2018

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