Woman’s death weeks after crash spells charges for driver

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes people who suffer seemingly minor injuries in auto accidents become worse weeks afterwards. Sadly, that happened for a Florida woman, and she died nearly three weeks after her initial injury. That complicates matters for investigators, who did not treat the accident as a potentially fatal crash.

The car accident occurred on April 19. The woman’s car was stopped at a red light on U.S. 192 when it was struck by a truck from behind, compressing the back of the car up to the driver’s seat and causing the woman to suffer a collapsed lung. Initially, the truck’s driver was charged with careless driving and DUI, but that will likely change in light of the woman’s death.

Although the driver had taken legally-prescribed drugs, officers reportedly commented that he was not fit to drive. One officer who is trained to recognize signs of driver inebriation said that that the suspect seemed dazed and groggy after the crash.

Because investigators were apparently able to attribute the woman’s death directly to her injuries from the car accident, the driver will face more severe criminal charges and possible jail time. Police reports claim that the suspect admitted to sending text messages on his cell phone when he struck the victim’s car, which was pushed into several other vehicles, causing seven other individuals to sustain minor injuries.

A witness to the crash claims that he did not see the suspect’s vehicle brake or slow down before hitting the victim’s car, meaning that the truck was likely traveling at a rate of around 45 m.p.h. at the time of impact. The victim died at her home on May 14. Police did not say what exactly caused her death.

Source: Florida Today, “Woman dies from injuries in six-car pileup,” Andrew Knapp, 18 May 2011