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Posted On December 19, 2011 Personal Injury

Woman Killed in New Jersey Car Accident Involving Suspected Drunk Driver

Jean McCarthy, 71, was killed in a New Jersey car accident after the vehicle in which she was a passenger was struck by a suspected drunk driver. According to a news report in The Star-Ledger, the fatal DUI crash occurred on December 18, 2011 at the intersection of Route 70 and Massachusetts Avenue in Toms River. Police say the victim’s husband, Ed McCarthy, was driving his wife home after she was involved in a separate minor accident.

Tragic DUI Crash

They were westbound on Route 70 when they were hit by a van making a left turn. Abel Hernandez, 28, the driver of the van, fled the scene, but was apprehended by officials within the hour. Jean McCarthy died from her injuries while her husband remains in serious condition at Jersey Shore Hospital. Hernandez has been charged with driving without a license, reckless driving, death by auto, leaving the scene of an injury accident and DUI.

My thoughts and prayers are with the McCarthy family as they grieve the loss of a loved one and care for another who has been hospitalized in serious condition. I wish Ed McCarthy the very best for a speedy and complete recovery. My deepest condolences to him and other family members.

Alcohol Factor in New Jersey Crashes

According to the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s 2010 Crash Facts and Statistics, there were 530 fatal crashes in New Jersey involving 556 fatalities. Of the fatalities, 30.6 percent involved a drunk driver. In 137 of the 530 fatal crashes statewide, DUI was listed as a major contributing factor. There were 149 people killed in New Jersey as a result of these 137 DUI crashes.

Compensation for Victims and their Families

If the details of this news report are accurate, it appears that the driver of the van was not only under the influence, but he made an unsafe left turn at the intersection, caused a fatal head-on collision and then fled the scene of a crash. To top it all, he was allegedly driving without a valid license. These are all serious violations of the law. In this case, Hernandez, in addition to facing criminal charges, can also be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses caused. If he is uninsured or underinsured, the victim’s family can seek compensation through the uninsured motorist clause of their own auto insurance policy. An experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyer will be able to advise injured victims and their families about their legal rights and options.