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Ohio teen's sentence not severe enough for families of victims

In June 2014, a 16-year-old boy struck a tree while driving his automobile at excessive speeds. The crash was so severe that it was split the car in half, and the three teens sitting in the back seat were ejected from the vehicle and killed. The driver and a passenger in the front seat were seriously injured but survived the accident.

On Feb. 4, the teen who allegedly caused the accident was sentenced in a Licking County court to serve six to nine months in a youth correctional facility in Perry County. Although the charges he was convicted on were not mentioned, investigators did note that the driver was thought to be driving over the speed limit, somewhere between 76 and 82 mph in a 55 mph zone.

The family members of the three victims declined to talk with the media after the verdict was read. They only commented that they felt that justice had not been served. The boy will be sent back to court once his sentence has been served in order to determine if his behavior during incarceration warrants more time being added to his sentence.

In a difficult situation such as this one, family members do have some options for seeking justice for the loved ones they lost in an accident. While no court action can replace the life of a family member, filing a wrongful death claim could help the remaining family members be compensated for some of the financial and emotional trauma they have suffered. Civil cases can be filed independently of any criminal charges and are determined on a preponderance of evidence rather than reasonable doubt. An attorney who is familiar with wrongful death suits may be a good source of advice and guidance in a time of confusion and grief.

Source: WBNS-TV, "Family Wanted Harsher Sentence For Teen That Caused Crash Which Killed 3," Josh Poland, Feb. 6, 2015

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