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New Jersey minivan driver killed in fiery out-of-state crash

You often hear the word “senseless” used to describe accidents that didn’t have to happen. It’s difficult for Bergen County car accident victims to accept and recover from a serious injury or the loss of a loved one due to driver carelessness or recklessness.

A New Jersey woman was killed in a fiery turnpike crash in New England. Authorities said the 66-year-old Toms River victim died last summer, after a BMW going the wrong direction on Interstate 90 struck the woman’s minivan and a Honda.

State troopers had been headed toward the turnpike before the fatal collision took place. A turnpike tollbooth worker phoned authorities when a car was spotted heading the wrong way up a ramp to the toll road. Investigators were unable to reach the suspected driver until they came upon the wreckage.

Three people were hurt. The BMW driver and two women occupying the Honda suffered non-serious injuries.

Officials arrested the BMW operator and charged him with half a dozen offenses, including homicide while driving drunk and recklessly or negligently. The 33-year-old man also was accused of manslaughter, a second homicide charge, unlicensed driving, failing to stop for an officer and driving so as to endanger.

The man was released after posting $5,000 cash bail. He recently pleaded not guilty to all charges and freed again, on conditions he would not drive and use drugs or alcohol. The next court date is set for March.

Wrongful death laws vary from state to state. The family members permitted to petition for compensation, the plaintiff’s timeline to file a case and the availability of damages may be dissimilar between the state where the accident occurred and, if different, the states where the litigants reside.

A legal consultation can help you determine whether an attorney from your home state can represent you in a wrongful death action in another jurisdiction.

Source: Telegram & Gazette, “Driver in fatal wrong-way Pike crash pleads not guilty” Gary V. Murray, Jan. 23, 2014

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