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Drunk driver flees scene of fatal accident on I-77

Ohio Highway Patrol troopers detained a man who they believe caused a fatal two-vehicle accident on Interstate 77 shortly before 5:30 a.m. on June 20. The highway was closed about four hours while investigators were at the scene. The 20-year-old New Philadelphia man is facing charges of vehicular homicide, drunk driving, fleeing an accident scene and failure to control.

According to an OHP representative, the man drove a Dodge Caravan north until he lost control near the Fohl Street SW exit, crossed the median into southbound traffic and collided with a Dodge pickup truck head-on. The driver of the pickup, a 28-year-old Canton man, soon died at Aultman Hospital.

Witnesses reported that the Caravan driver fled the scene of the fatal accident and might not have been alone, and Stark County sheriff's deputies and OHP troopers used an aviation unit and canine officers to search the area. Authorities found the man walking on a nearby road and administered a breath test for alcohol, and he allegedly tested two times above the legal limit. The police have not yet found anyone else they believe was involved in the crash, but the investigation is ongoing.

When someone's negligent act causes an accident in which another person is killed, the family of the deceased could consider filing a wrongful death claim in pursuit of compensation. These claims may allow the family to recover whatever they spent on funeral costs and final medical expenses. If the at-fault driver is facing criminal charges in relation to the crash, evidence that is used in the criminal proceedings might carry over into civil proceedings, substantiating the family's claim.

Source: CantonRep.com, "Suspect ran from scene of fatal I-77 crash; victim ID'd ", Lori Monsewicz , June 20, 2014

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