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Pickup driver’s intoxication blamed for Dallas officer’s death

Grieving relatives may doubt the sincerity of an apology given by a defendant whose carelessness contributed to a loved one’s death. Many Texas families feel severe punishments for unsafe drivers are well justified. Financial recovery and closure often follow a separate, successful civil claim for car accident damages.

It was around sunrise when a suburban Dallas police officer clocked out after a long work shift. The officer was headed home to his wife and three children when his motorcycle was struck by a truck.

The collision pitched the motorcycle and its rider into the air. The 25-year-old officer suffered a fatal injury when he landed 30 feet away in a ditch.

The pickup driver fled to his grandmother’s home less than three miles from the accident. The 22-year-old man later testified he failed to stay at the scene and call for help because he was confused and afraid. Tests showed the suspect was also drunk and under the influence of two drugs.

The defendant partied heavily starting the evening before the fatal accident. Marijuana, methamphetamines and alcohol were found in his system. The accused man drank seven beers at a Fort Worth bar. He and his brother later visited a restaurant with the defendant’s then-girlfriend. The passengers were dropped at their homes.

The pickup driver said he felt fatigued but not drunk when he noticed a motorcycle approaching an intersection on U.S. 67. The defendant stated he "misjudged the distance," struck the officer’s bike and fled. The young man called his mother but not 911.

A guilty plea was entered for leaving the accident scene and intoxication manslaughter. The charges could imprison the defendant for up to 30 years.

The officer’s spouse and children might receive significant damages in a wrongful death claim. Proof of drugged and drunk driving negligence may result in compensation for the family’s suffering, including the loss of the officer’s supporting wages.

Source: star-telegram.com, "Driver says he wasn’t drunk in crash that killed off-duty officer" Mitch Mitchell, Jun. 01, 2013

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