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Wrongful death possible in death of teen

Patricia M. Jarzobski

A seventh-grade student was tragically killed in a crash the night of June 8. Colorado police have identified the 13-year-old student, who attended a nearby school. The driver of the pickup truck involved in the crash has been apprehended. He is now being held in a county jail on suspicion of DUI and vehicular homicide, among several other charges. Even if he is not found guilty of the criminal charges, the boy's family are entitled to file a wrongful death suit against him in civil court as well. 

According to the accident report, around 9:30 p.m., officers responded to the crash. It appears the boy was walking when the pickup truck ran into him. He was seriously injured and was rushed to the hospital. He was pronounced dead sometime later. The boy's school has since provided grief counseling services to the students and families, working closely with the school district's psychological response team. 

While it is not clear what caused officers to believe the driver was drunk, he was nevertheless booked into custody. He stands charged with vehicular homicide, a class-3 felony, driving under the influence of alcohol and careless driving resulting in death. Police have reached out to anyone who may have witnessed the accident. 

Of course this is a horrific tragedy, and particularly if alcohol was indeed involved in the accident, it is likely the driver involved will face jail time. However, a wrongful death suit does not require a conviction or even criminal charges to be filed in such a case. Colorado civil courts will hear the complainants, and plaintiffs are welcome to use police evidence to support their claim for damages. 

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