Police departments tend to conduct thorough investigations when road users lose their lives in hit-and-run accidents. The Pennsylvania State Police launched such an investigation in April 2020 after an accident in Penn Township, and it led to a felony charge for a 53-year-old man. Accident investigators determined that a Honda Pilot SUV struck a 23-year-old Amish man as he rode a scooter on Route 45 near Paradise Road. The alleged driver came forward when police released a description of the vehicle and the damage it likely sustained in the crash.
When police arrived at the man’s State College residence, they found his Honda SUV parked in a garage with a smashed windshield, shattered headlight and buckled hood. Investigators also noticed that the passenger side of the vehicle had been wiped down and an attempt appeared to have been made to remove traces of paint that may have come from the hit-and-run victim’s scooter. Police later matched the Pilot’s hood bracket with a bruise on the victim.
During the police interview that led to his arrest, the man told police that he thought he hit a deer and did not stop because he had no cellphone service. When they checked his phone records, investigators discovered that the man-made several calls shortly before and after the accident. The man also told police that he was not aware that a road user was killed, but a search of his computer revealed that he checked news outlets regularly to learn about the progress of the investigation and even visited the PSP’s website.
Wrongful death lawsuits
The family members of road users killed in car accidents may file wrongful death lawsuits against the motorists responsible if the facts suggest that negligence played a role. The damages awarded in wrongful death cases usually compensate family members for the lost income of a breadwinner, which means they could be high if the victim was young and in their prime earning years.