Heymann & Fletcher

Deadly auto accident results in plea by New Jersey woman

A woman worked for the New Jersey Transit Authority for nearly 25 years. As a bus driver, she became involved in a deadly auto accident for which she was criminally charged. Since that time, the 67-year-old woman entered a plea of guilty to assault-by-auto in the fourth-degree and recently received a sentence of probation for three years.

A 49-year-old man was a passenger on her bus back in Sept. 2013. After getting off the bus, he began crossing the street in a crosswalk. At the same time, the woman driving the bus made the decision to speed up at a yellow light in an attempt to get through the intersection before the signal turned red. However, the light turned red before she entered the intersection, and she failed to stop.

Reports indicate that the New Jersey Transit bus driver ran the red light before encountering her former passenger, who had the misfortune of being in her path. He died as a result of the fatal injuries he suffered in the impact. Had she not entered a plea for a lesser charge, she would have faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the original charges.

The woman's guilty plea and sentencing may be used by the victim's family as evidence in a wrongful death claim against the woman and her employer. If the family can satisfactorily establish negligence, the court may consider an award of damages permissible under state laws. Any monetary award could help defray the costs incurred by the family because of the loss of their loved one in this tragic auto accident.

Source: my9nj.com, "NJ Transit bus driver sentenced in fatal accident", Dec. 20, 2014

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