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Man faces possible life term over death of Bergen County woman

Every alcohol-related traffic accident is preventable. The 164 deaths caused by New Jersey drunk drivers in 2011, reported by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, never had to happen. Neither did the 25,700 DUI arrests throughout the state.

Impaired individuals make a choice to drive. At the same time, they decide not to care about their own safety or the safety of others. Drunk drivers don’t think about causing a car accident that might injure, disable or kill someone else and deprive a family of a loved one.

A 23-year-old Rutherford man is charged with causing a Bergen County woman’s death last year. The 28-year-old woman was walking home from her job at a beauty salon in August when the defendant driving nearby lost control of a Lexus. The mother of four sons, ages 3 to 8, suffered head injuries from which she never recovered; the Carlstadt woman died two days later.

Reports said that the Lexus hit a curb on one side of an East Rutherford road and swerved back to the opposite side. The woman on the sidewalk was fatally injured after the car slammed into a tree, a street light and a utility pole. Investigators said the young male driver was intoxicated.

The man recently was indicted on charges of vehicular homicide, aggravated manslaughter and first- and second-degree death by auto. Penalties for a conviction could place the driver behind bars for the rest of his life. The man was freed after posting $75,000 bail.

The mother’s loss has shifted responsibilities among surviving family members. The father of the four boys is a restaurant cook. He’s receiving help from the accident victim’s five siblings and parents to raise the children.

Wrongful death claims allow family members to recover damages for losses due to a death caused by negligence. Compensation from legal actions eases the financial burdens of surviving spouses, parents and children.

Source: The Record, “Rutherford man indicted on vehicular homicide charge in death of Carlstadt woman” Peter J. Sampson, Apr. 29, 2014

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