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Wisconsin man kills elderly woman in hit-and-run car accident

A 36-year-old Hammond man killed an 84-year-old woman in a hit-and-run accident one recent afternoon. The elderly woman was walking along a county road in a neighboring state when the fatal crash occurred. The man hit the woman and fled the scene in as she was left in a ditch. Emergency personnel detected a pulse on the woman, but she died later at the accident scene.

Police found the man shortly after the accident several miles away from where he hit the woman. Police found a large hole in the windshield of the man's vehicle. There was damage to the hood and there were glass pieces and blood on the vehicle.

The man first told the police that he thought he had hit a deer and that is why he drove away. When police probed him further, however, he said that he thought at the time that it could have been something other than a deer. The man said that he considered stopping, but because he was scared and he did not have a driver's license, he decided to drive on. The man said that he hit the woman when he looked down to dial his cellphone. He did not press his brakes before the crash, and he did not believe he had fallen asleep at the wheel although he takes medication that makes him sleepy.

The man faces charges of homicide by negligent driving causing death, fatal hit-and-run resulting in death, and driving without a license resulting in death. The judge set bail at $10,000. If a jury convicts the man on the fatal hit-and-run count, he could face up to 25 years in prison.

Unfortunately, distracted driving is an all-too-common cause of car accidents. By now, however, drivers should know that texting or talking on a cellphone while driving can have serious consequences. Fortunately, families who have lost a loved one due to someone else's distracted driving have legal options. Through a wrongful death lawsuit, they may be able to hold a driver further accountable by seeking compensation for the death of a family member. While no amount of money can ever replace a loved one, monetary compensation can help cover funeral costs and other expenses so the family can focus on helping each other get through such a difficult time.

Source: Pioneer Press, "Hammond, Wis. man charged in fatal hit and run; had revoked license," Andy Rathbun, Sept. 21, 2012

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