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Outrage at dismissal of charges in fatal motorcycle accident

Public outrage bubbled over into a street march by 50 people to protest the dismissal of felony aggravated vehicular homicide charges against a motorist who struck a motorcycle rider. The motorcyclist was idling in stopped traffic when the accident occurred, and he did not survive his injuries.

Ohio Highway Patrol officers had said that a urine sample obtained from the vehicle driver indicated that he was intoxicated at the time. The evidence was considered inadmissible, however, because instead of obtaining the urine sample within a three hour time period following the fatal motorcycle accident, it was obtained approximately two minutes later. To many, this did not make sense, as alcohol dissipates over time. A reading of intoxication at a later time would logically mean it was possible that the driver was even more intoxicated at the time of the accident.

This accident took place in the summer on Ohio 16. The motorcyclist was the loving father of both a 19-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter, who he worked hard to support in his job as a commercial truck driver. He was a motorcycle aficionado, an avid fan of all sports played at Ohio State University, and he had attended Licking Heights High School.

Apparently, some misdemeanor charges arising out of the accident may still be pursued, but that is hardly proportional to the enormous harm done. However, the decision by the prosecutor not to pursue criminal charges will likely have little effect on a civil lawsuit for damages against the responsible driver. Such lawsuits can seek the recovery of medical and funeral expenses, damages for pain and suffering and a variety of other claims. Additionally, while no amount of money can ever bring back a lost father, a big judgment against reckless drivers can help to deter others from engaging in callous conduct that can put an end forever to other precious innocent lives.

Source: Newark Advocate, "Supporters march for justice in fatal crash" Hannah Sparling, Dec. 28, 2013

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