When learning to drive, one of the first things that parents often say to their teenager is "a car is not a toy." This seems fairly obvious, especially as drivers grow older and more mature. Some drivers, however, still treat their vehicle as a plaything, rather than assuming the heavy responsibility it carries. In these cases, fatal car accidents are a real and dangerous prospect.
This was apparently the case in Florida, where a 54-year-old man was reportedly "playing games" as he drove his car erratically down a Hollywood street. According to the man's passengers, he was operating the Suburban with intent to frighten or to collide with other drivers; the man allegedly swerved in and out of lanes with little warning.
The joyride came to an end in the early morning hours as the man struck two other vehicles. The driver of one of those vehicles, a 46-year-old woman, received fatal injuries. The woman was on her way home from work; in a tragic twist, the accident occurred on her birthday.
The 54-year-old man was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter. Blood tests performed after the accident showed positive for cocaine. Authorities say the man also had a string of previous traffic violations on his record, including one that was apparently committed after the man's pre-trial release.
If convicted, the man will face years of imprisonment. In many cases, however, criminal charges are of little comfort to the families of the deceased, many of whom must face the economic strain associated with lost wages and medical bills following the accident. This is why, in many cases involving fatal car accidents, the victim's family often choose to file a civil case in addition to the criminal charges.
Source: The Florida Sun-Sentinel, "Driver set out to hit cars, leading to fatal crash, cops say" Erika Pesantes, Oct. 30, 2013