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Drunk driving suspected for Preston death

Pedestrians are virtually unprotected against the size and force of vehicles. A fatal pedestrian accident in Preston, Connecticut on April 20, 2013 leading to the death of a U.S. Navy sailor waiting for a taxi is a vivid illustration of the lethal combination of impaired driving and pedestrians.

According to police, a 54-year-old male driver from Griswold was traveling home from the Mohegan Sun Casino in his Ford F-250 pickup truck around 2:00 a.m. after drinking with friends at the casino. His truck did not negotiate a curve, crossed the westbound lane and struck two men who were waiting for the taxi in a parking lot.

A 28-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy revealed that he died of blunt traumatic injuries. A 48-year-old from Gales Ferry also suffered lacerations to the head and face and injuries to the cervical spine, pelvis, left knee and shoulder from being sideswiped from the truck.

The suspected drunk driver took a blood and urine test after the crash which tested at 0.145 percent, according to the arrest affidavit. The state's legal limit is 0.08 percent. Police also said that he had red eyes and that there was an odor of alcohol on his breath. An investigation also found that his truck's left front brake line was loose and leaking fluid. However, the driver did not mention faulty brakes, there was no oil sheen on the road and there were no pedestrians or vehicles in the roadway at the time of the crash, according to the affidavit.

The alleged drunk driver was arraigned on April 10 in Norwich Superior Court and pled not guilty to second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle, second-degree assault with a motor vehicle, first degree reckless endangerment, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and making a restricted turn. The injured pedestrian and the deceased victim's family are also suing the driver, the Mohegan Tribe and the bar owners.

Victims of pedestrian accidents and their families may be entitled to compensation for the death of family members, injuries and other losses in these accidents. For drunk driving accidents, the establishment that served the impaired driver may also be at fault in a Dram Shop lawsuit.

Source: The Day Connecticut, "Griswold man charged with manslaughter, DUI in Preston fatality," Karen Florin, April 10, 2014

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