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Drunk driver sentenced for 2010 motorcyclist death

A 54-year-old man from Essex was sentenced on June 30 to four years in prison for drunk driving in the Aug. 18, 2010 death of a motorcyclist that he hit in Hartford. The defendant also faces civil lawsuits stemming from the auto accident.

The defendant's SUV was traveling in the wrong direction when it struck the 29-year-old victim as he rode his motorcycle on the Sisson Avenue off-ramp from I-84. The victim was thrown 61 feet off the elevated ramp into a parking lot below. His motorcycle was destroyed.

He initially survived this fall and joked with first responders who prepared to transport him to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center. However, life-saving efforts and surgery was unsuccessful and the victim died around 5:30 a.m.

The prosecution said that the defendant was driving 50 to 58 mph at the time of the crash. His blood alcohol content was 0.14 about one hour after the collision. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.

The defendant pled guilty in April to second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle. The defendant was facing a sentence ranging from three and one-half to eight years of imprisonment under the plea agreement. After his prison term, he will be on probation for four years, perform community service and must contribute $2,500 each year to a scholarship fund at the victim's high school that has been set up in the victim's name.

This case is one example of the impact that drunk driving has on Connecticut drivers. The state suffered 85 fatalities from drunk driving accidents in 2012. Victims of an accident caused by a drunk driver and their families should seek guidance on obtaining compensation and their rights.

Source: The Hartford Courant, "Essex man sentenced in drunken driving crash that claimed motorcyclist in Hartford," David Owens, June 30, 2014

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