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Driver in crash that killed Michigan man, 22, pleads 'no contest'

Car accidents happen in an instant and they change lives forever. Many Michigan residents remember hearing about a tragic accident that took place in Fraser last summer leaving one 22-year-old twin brother dead and the other injured. This family is continuing to seek closure, according to a recent news report in the Lansing Journal, and one chapter closed today when the driver of the other vehicle pleaded no contest.

The 67-year-old man was facing a homicide-manslaughter charge in relation to the rear-end collision and a maximum of 15 years in prison. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but it allows the judge to proceed as if the defendant was guilty as charged.

The driver had alcohol in his system at the time of the accident, when he slammed into the twins' car which was stopped at a stoplight, but he was below the legal limit. He has maintained that he suffered a diabetic attack behind the wheel. According to police reports, he was travelling more than 80 mph before crashing.

The parents of the twins reportedly experienced mixed-reactions to the no contest plea. While the father is relieved to avoid a jury trial, the mother said she would have preferred a trial.

In the aftermath of fatal car accidents, there are two ways to hold negligent drivers accountable. One is with criminal charges, which are handled by police and prosecutors as in this case. The second way is with a civil wrongful death claim. Family members of victims of tragic auto accidents can sue the driver who is at-fault for wrongful death to obtain compensation for funeral expenses, lost income and pain and suffering, among other things.

The criminal and civil processes are completely separate. While neither process can undo what has been done or fill the void left by a tragic loss, together they allow the loved ones of victims to pursue justice.

Source: Lansing Journal, "Driver in crash that killed Michigan man, injured his twin pleads no contest to felony," Christina Hall, Jan. 22, 2013

  • Our Ann Arbor law firm helps the loved ones of victims of fatal car accidents pursue wrongful death claims. More information about this process is available on our Wrongful Death Survivor Actions page.

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