Evidence of Ohio teen's role in fatal accident questioned

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Defense attorneys for an Ohio teenager charged with running her vehicle into a pedestrian last year recently argued that evidence against the teen was not as cut and dried as prosecutors wanted to believe. The girl, who was 17 when the incident occurred, is believed to be responsible for the fatal accident that lead to the death of an 81-year-old woman. Her attorneys say the evidence against her is “thin.”

Prosecutors say the woman was crossing the street when she was struck by a sport utility vehicle. The driver of the SUV did not stop to see if the woman needed assistance. The woman suffered several broken bones and later died from her injuries, according to reports.

Police used video taken by surveillance cameras located in several nearby businesses to identify the SUV they believe was responsible. They stopped the teen for a traffic infraction about a month after the accident occurred. Further investigation indicated she was behind the wheel when the incident happened. She was later charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene.

Defense attorneys say that almost 20 vehicles matching the description of the one used to identify the car that hit the woman were in the area at the time of the fatal accident. They also claim physical evidence allegedly found on the teen’s car is not conclusive proof of anything. They have asked that the trial be closed to the public and the media to protect the teen’s privacy.

Attorneys may argue about the evidence and whether it supports a guilty verdict, but they cannot change the fact that a woman died. Regardless of the activity in criminal court, the surviving family members retain the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in an Ohio civil court. A successfully litigated claim can help them take care of any end-of-life expenses they may be facing and give them the resources they may need to move forward from the aftermath of this fatal accident.

Source: The Plain Dealer, “Defense attorneys question evidence in trial of teen accused of killing elderly woman“, Rachel Dissell, March 26, 2014