One girl with a disability recently died after a former New York police officer struck her in a tragic car accident. The 48-year-old man hit the girl who had Down syndrome and reportedly left the car accident scene. He has since pleaded guilty to committing the hit-and-run, a felony charge.
The man admitted that he hit the teenager, said to be 13, while she was trying to cross the road. The girl suffered trauma to her body and head and was transported to the hospital, where she died a few hours following the collision. As a result of pleading guilty, the man will receive less time in jail.
The man retired from the New York Police Department on disability back in 1998 following an injury. His defense team initially said he did not stop at the accident scene because he figured he had struck a traffic cone, but a judge later confirmed with the ex-police officer that he knew he had struck an individual. According to prosecutors, video showed that the teen girl was legally allowed to use the crosswalk when the man hit her. The man will be sentenced in October and may be imprisoned for a little over a year up to four years.
The family members of the deceased accident victim have the right to take legal action against the man via a wrongful death claim. They may use his guilty plea in civil court in an attempt to establish his liability. Damages awarded in a successfully litigated suit may help cover medical expenses and funeral and burial costs as well as help address the emotional distress linked to the car accident.
Source: NBC New York, "Former NYPD Officer Pleads Guilty in Hit-Run That Killed Girl With Down Syndrome", Greg Cergol, August 6, 2014