Judge's gavel

Witnesses to 2012 Fatal Norman Crash Testify in Front of Jury

More than a year ago, multiple people called 911 to report an erratic driver. One caller told a dispatcher that the man kept drifting over the center line of the road. Although both callers tried to prevent an accident by calling authorities, their efforts were fruitless. While the second caller was on the phone with emergency dispatchers, she witnessed the erratic 54-year-old driver once again cross the centerline and crash head-on into another vehicle. She thought he was intoxicated.

Last week, witnesses, including both individuals who called 911, testified at the man's trial. He was charged with manslaughter, and witnesses to the car accident described a gruesome scene. The 36-year-old Oklahoma City woman who was hit was thrown from her vehicle. Witnesses to the accident ran to see if she was OK, but they got no response. She died in the collision.

Witnesses told the court on Thursday that the man seemed to have escaped major injury but was slow and unresponsive when they tried to talk to him. When police arrived, the man refused to cooperate with them, so he was arrested. Police found prescription drugs in his car.

Sadly, this accident is a clear example of the serious consequences of negligent driving. Whether a person is drunk driving or simply driving while distracted, the result can be devastating. As this case also shows, serious offenders are often held accountable through criminal charges. However, car accident victims -- or their families -- should know that they can take matters into their own hands if they so choose. A personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit can result in compensation for a victim or his or her family members and hold a negligent driver further accountable for causing a serious accident.

Source: The Norman Transcript, "Witnesses offer testimony in manslaughter trial," Jessica Bruha, April 12, 2013