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Suspect in fatal I-77 crash attempted to flee, say police

A Canton man is dead and a New Philadelphia man is facing charges after a fatal car crash early Friday along Interstate 77.

The Ohio Highway Patrol says the crash occurred at around 5:15 a.m. south of the city. An official statement says that initial investigation indicates that the 20-year-old suspect was driving drunk in a minivan when he lost control of the vehicle. The van swerved across the grass median into oncoming lanes where it struck a pickup truck head on.

The 28-year-old driver of that pickup was taken to an area hospital, but officials say he was pronounced dead from injuries a short time afterward.  

Witnesses reportedly told authorities that immediately after the crash, several people linked to the van fled the scene. That prompted the call-out of canine patrols and an aerial unit and a significant search ensued. In the end, officials say the only person found who was believed to have been involved in the crash was the suspect.

He has been charged with multiple offenses that include drunk driving, failure to control, leaving the scene and aggravated vehicular homicide.

The suspect can be sure that he will have his day in court. But loved ones of the victim may wonder what rights they have. They surely are suffering deep grief, but their loss may also mean that they will suffer financially because of the cost of hospital care and funeral expenses. The death of the victim may also mean loss of crucial family income.

Whether a claim for wrongful death due to the other driver's negligence is warranted is legitimate to ask. The best way to make a determination and to examine options related to compensation is to contact an attorney skilled in dealing with drunk driving accident injury law. 

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

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