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Out-of-state driver surrenders day after New Jersey hit-and-run

A few seconds of negligence can change the life of an accident victim or lives of survivors forever. A serious injury may require a long, costly recovery or permanent care. Losses for immediate relatives extend beyond emotional suffering, especially following the death of a family’s primary wage earner.

Two couples spent a Saturday evening together celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at a New Jersey American Legion dance. When the festivities ended for the night, the friends started walking back to their separate cars, which were across Route 206 in a parking lot. The men shared a conversation as they walked ahead of their two wives.

One of the men spotted a car headed northbound, but the vehicle appeared far enough in the distance that it didn’t seem like a threat. The car was moving faster than the pedestrians estimated; witnesses agreed it was speeding. The couples ran for the side of the road, but only the men escaped getting hit.

A 44-year-old Branchville woman, a mother of two, died after being struck and hurled through the air in the violent collision. Her companion, a 55-year-old woman, suffered serious leg injuries and was airlifted to a Morristown hospital. The car driver stopped, exited his vehicle, surveyed the damage and, according to witnesses, drove off in the same direction in which he originally was headed.

The alleged hit-and-run driver, a 60-year-old out-of-state man, surrendered to authorities the following day. Multiple charges were filed including assault by automobile and leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident involving bodily injury, plus a separate charge for fleeing a fatal crash.

If anything can be worse than losing a loved one in a car accident, it’s witnessing a spouse, parent or child’s death. The shock combined with grief is an emotional blow from which survivors sometimes never recover. New Jersey civil courts try to ease this pain by ordering compensation for driver negligence victims.

Source: Poconio Record, “Dingmans Ferry man faces fatal hit-and-run charges” Greg Watry, New Jersey Herald, Mar. 22, 2014

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