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Victims of 2012 accident suggest maximum jail time not enough

Motor vehicle accidents happen in the blink of an eye. The effects on those who are hurt or on the loved ones of victims who are killed in car or truck crashes have a way of being felt for much, much longer -- perhaps a lifetime.

Criminal charges are not uncommon in such cases in Ohio. If a conviction is obtained, a sentence will be handed down. But the question the completed process may prompt for many people could well be, "Is that all there is?"

Considering that accidents can cause emotional and financial trauma in addition to physical injuries to the victims, the question is understandable. And the answer is that further accountability may be sought and compensation possibly obtained through civil action with the help of an attorney.

For two victims hurt in a crash back in July 2012, there seems to be a sense that more is called for. The man responsible for their injuries pleaded guilty in February to charges of aggravated vehicular assault. He also pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.

Under terms of a plea agreement, the man was sentenced last week to three years in prison and six months in jail. That's the maximum penalty possible. The man's driver's license will also be suspended for three years.

Contrast all that to what the victims say they have endured since being struck. A 25-year-old woman told the court told how she has been permanently scarred physically and mentally.

The other victim, a 43-year-old Columbus police officer, described in court how he nearly died at the scene after being impaled on a guardrail. He spent 10 weeks in the hospital and in rehabilitation, has undergone 18 surgeries so far, missed more than a year of work and fears he may never return to full duty.

At word that the driver's attorney plans to seek judicial release of his client after he serves 18 months, the officer told the court, "I ask you to ignore that request."

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, "Man gets maximum sentence for crash involving officer," John Futty, May 6, 2014

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