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Teen pleads guilty after cyclist's death in Alaska car accident

Some teenagers in Alaska may not be aware of the responsibilities that come along with driving a vehicle. Just prior to her 18th birthday, a girl recently pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and DUI in Anchorage Superior Court. These charges followed a 2014 car accident that claimed the life of a cyclist.

According to court documents, the girl backed up while trying to turn her vehicle around and struck the cyclist who was behind her. She apparently failed to stop and check on the condition of the victim, and police located her at her nearby residence. Her blood alcohol level was tested and apparently determined to exceed the legal limit. The young driver was charged as an adult, and although her legal representative asked for the case to be moved to juvenile court, the prosecutor objected. Apparently, a final resolution of that issue has not been reached.

The plaintiff was charged with manslaughter and leaving the scene of the accident; but as part of a plea agreement, she pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and DUI. In addition, the felony charge of leaving the accident scene was dismissed. Sentencing is scheduled for August, and although the sentence could include up to 10 years of incarceration, the attorneys have reportedly agreed to limit the punishment to three years, of which two years will be suspended.

The surviving wife of the deceased victim said that although the hearing and sentencing may bring some closure, the love and companionship of her late husband could never be replaced. When a loved one is lost in a car accident, the surviving family members may pursue financial relief by filing a wrongful death claim in an Alaskan civil court. Sufficient evidence of negligence will have to be documented to substantiate such a claim. In a case where a driver is convicted of criminally negligent homicide or similar charges, a civil court will likely accept evidence of that conviction as proof of liability in a related wrongful death claim.

Source:, "Teenager pleads guilty in hit-and-run death of Anchorage cyclist", Michelle Theriault Boots, May 4, 2015

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