Fitness is an all-season activity in northern Virginia, as many residents gear up for spring, summer and even fall activities during the long and cold winter months. Few expect that their training will end with a drunk driving accident, but that’s precisely what happened recently to a 34-year-old Virginia mother of three.

The accident victim had been out running near her residence earlier this month when she was struck by a suspected drunk driver. The incident claimed her life, and the community of runners to which she belonged has come out in full force to preserve her memory. A Facebook page was created in her honor, and urged runners to get out and run for the victim in order to spread an anti-drunk driving message. Over 55,000 people have declared their intentions to run for the victim and increase awareness.

The driver who struck the victim has been charged with serious crimes in relation to the untimely death. He faces charges of driving under the influence as well as involuntary manslaughter. His bail was set at $25,000 following the tragedy. He must also wear a special bracelet that monitors his alcohol levels.

While drunk drivers who are caught by authorities face severe legal penalties, often this is not enough for victims’ families and estates to cope fully after a crash. In the wake of a shocking death, especially of someone in the prime of his or her life, there are massive financial burdens that may sometimes come as a surprise. If the death was caused by someone else’s reckless or negligent behavior, a wrongful death cause of action may bring compensation to those who must face agonizing decisions after catastrophe.

Source: CBS Boston, “VA runner killed by alleged drunk driver while training for Boston marathon,” Jan. 16, 2014