Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler

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North Carolina man sentenced in bicycle accident hit-and-run

A 22-year-old North Carolina man was bicycling home from work late one November night last year. The front and rear of his bicycle were equipped with blinking red lights, as required by law, and he wore a helmet. Unfortunately, his precautions were not enough to save him from a careless, speeding SUV driver who struck him from behind with such force that the bicyclist was knocked out of his shoes, newspaper reports said.

The Asheville cyclist spent two months in a coma with a brain injury, shattered knees, broken right ankle, a tear in his heart and spinal damage before he died. The driver who hit the bicyclist on a road near the interstate and drove off will spend the next year and a half in prison after pleading guilty to felony hit and run with serious injury.

Cold calculations are often part of hit-and-run accidents, though the driver in this case told police that after he hit the cyclist, he drove off in a panic. And yet the facts of the matter tell a different story.

The collision was just after 2 a.m., law enforcement officials determined. The driver hurried home to his apartment. By 2:49 a.m., he had already contacted an auto glass repair shop to fix his windshield. There was clearly little, if any, thought of the person left to die on the road. 

“Though a 19-month prison term is not a lot of time considering the tragic, permanent, and life-changing injuries sustained by the victim," the prosecutor said in a statement after the sentencing, before adding that he "is satisfied that the Court sentenced this defendant to the maximum punishment authorized by law."

While prosecutors in hit-and-run cases like this one can be satisfied with a conviction, families are often not. In many situations, they will seek financial punishment for the perpetrator in addition to the criminal penalties.

A Charlotte attorney experienced in wrongful death litigation can help you pursue a higher form of justice.

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