Girardi | Keese

Man faces charges in death of motorcyclist in California

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, which has numerous states -- including California -- working to make drivers and motorcyclists aware of the need for increased safety on the road. At the same time, a 37-year-old man faces charges in the death of a motorcyclist in Aug. 2011.

According to reports, the man was driving a truck on a California road when he allegedly struck a 23-year-old motorcyclist. The accident occurred when the 37-year-old driver allegedly failed to make a full stop at a stop sign. After striking the motorcyclist, prosecutors say the man continued to drive, dragging the motorcyclist under his truck for almost a quarter mile. The motorcyclist died from his injuries.

Police charged the truck driver with vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol, second-degree murder, leaving the scene resulting in death and a number of other criminal acts related to the accident. One of the charges is recklessly endangering a child, as his 6-year-old was in the truck at the time of the incident.

An accident reconstructionist said during the trial that he believed the man stopped his vehicle momentarily after the incident before driving on. The motorcyclist became trapped in the wheel-well of the front passenger-side tire.

The attorney for the defendant denied the allegations of drunk driving and said the man was not aware the motorcyclist was trapped under the car. He said the man doesn't speak English, so he didn't know what bystanders were trying to tell him.

Regardless of the outcome of a criminal matter in a vehicle accident, victims or grieving family members have the option to seek civil action against an at-fault driver. Civil suits may help families cover medical expenses or pay for future damages related to an accident.

Source: News Telegram, "Verdict expected Monday in trial of Milford man accused of motorcyclist's death" Gary V. Murray, May. 15, 2014

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