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Police officer's cell phone use alleged in deadly crash

When police officers take to the road in their own vehicles, Virginians often assume their behaviors are always safe and lawful. However, no drivers are above the law, nor are law enforcement personnel immune to the temptations of distracted driving. A recent case out of neighboring West Virginia involves a police officer who is accused of talking on his cell phone and causing a fatal car accident.

The incident occurred in October of 2011, when, according to a woman whose mother died as a result of the crash, a deputy sheriff driving in the town of Quincy hit another car. The sheriff was in a Jeep Grand Cherokee, headed east on U.S. Route 60 when he hit a car making a left turn. Inside the turning car was an 85-year-old passenger, who suffered serious injuries after the traumatic collision. Sadly, the woman succumbed to her many injuries a few days later in an area hospital.

The deceased crash victim's 58-year-old daughter is now alleging that the deputy sheriff was a negligent driver whose distracted driving led to a wrongful death. The facts surrounding the accident appear to support her claim: the officer was traveling over the speed limit when the crash occurred, and he admitted in a statement that he had been having a conversation on a mobile phone at the time. He also said that he was not using a hands-free mobile device.

The plaintiff has since claimed to suffer mental pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and extreme emotional distress following the death of her mother. While no one involved can go back in time and do things differently, surviving victims of fatal car accidents can move forward with the help of an attorney. When an elderly person dies, loss of income may not be the primary concern, but those filing a lawsuit can still seek compensation for funeral expenses and medical expenses, both of which can pile up rapidly after a crash.

Source: The West Virginia Record, "Cop on cell phone caused fatal crash, woman alleges," Lawrence Smith, March 4, 2013

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