Fatal Vehicle Vs Pedestrian Accident on Guide Meridian Leads to Arrest for Vehicular Homicide
A fatal vehicle vs pedestrian accident on the Guide Meridian (SR539), south of Beard Road, occurred on January 4, 2022. As reported by whatcom-news.com, the accident left the right lane blocked for some time as first responders responded to the scene of the accident about 12:40 p.m.
According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, a 2002 Ford F150 pickup was driving southbound on the Guide towing a 2001 Chrysler Town and Country van using a tow strap. When the strap disconnected, both vehicles came to a stop. The driver of the towed vehicle got out to replace the strap. Instead of waiting, the Ford continued driving southbound and the unoccupied Chrysler crashed into the man that was outside the vehicle – killing him. The victim was declared dead at the scene.
The driver of the Ford was arrested and booked into Whatcom County Jail charged with suspicion of vehicular homicide. Drugs and/or alcohol are considered a factor in the accident.
What is vehicular homicide?
Vehicular homicide is a crime that involves a driver being responsible for the death of another person either through criminal negligence or murderous operation of a motor vehicle. In cases involving criminal negligence, the defendant may be charged with unintentional vehicular manslaughter.
Regardless of the theory under which vehicular homicide is charged, in Washington State it is considered a Class A felony punishable by up to life imprisonment and a $50,000 fine.
RCW 46.61.520 states:
(1) When the death of any person ensues within three years as a proximate result of injury proximately caused by the driving of any vehicle by any person, the driver is guilty of vehicular homicide if the driver was operating a motor vehicle:
(a) While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, as defined by RCW 46.61.502; or
(b) In a reckless manner; or
(c) With disregard for the safety of others.
(2) Vehicular homicide is a class A felony punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW, except that, for a conviction under subsection (1)(a) of this section, an additional two years shall be added to the sentence for each prior offense as defined in RCW 46.61.5055.
Who is at greatest risk for a fatal car vs pedestrian accident?
According to cdc.gov, alcohol-impaired drivers and pedestrians are at the highest risk for fatal car vs pedestrian accidents. In 2017, almost half (47 percent) of collisions that resulted in a pedestrian death involved alcohol for the driver and/or the pedestrian. Out of that number, 33 percent of these crashes involved a pedestrian who tested over the legal limit for alcohol.
Other risk factors:
- Older adults and children are disproportionately affected by pedestrian fatalities. In 2017, pedestrians aged 65 and older accounted for 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths and an estimated 10 percent of all pedestrian injuries. In addition, one in every five children under the age of 15 who was killed in a traffic crash was a pedestrian.
- Speeding increases the risk of a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle as well as the potential severity of the injury.
- Urban areas are at higher risk for pedestrian fatalities, especially at night at non-intersection locations.
Seek the help of a car accident attorney
If you or a loved one was injured in a collision because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced car accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!