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Readers in Edwardsville and the St. Louis area likely know how fragile life can be. One moment can seem so secure and filled with possibility, while the next is devastating. Too often, reckless or negligent behavior leads to catastrophe, altering lives forever, and the families of lost loved ones are left to pick up the pieces. These facts are painfully true for the family of a 38-year-old St. Louis woman who died tragically when she was hit by an intoxicated driver.

The mother of two was on her way to pick up her young daughters from daycare when she stopped at a convenience store for gas. A 28-year-old man from Maryville, Illinois, who police now say had ingested Freon and a mixture of oxycodone and marijuana, then barreled his vehicle through the filling station and struck the woman. The accident caused fatal injuries, and the woman later died at a hospital.

Witnesses said they saw the man talking on his cell phone at the time of the fatal crash. Knowing this, the woman's husband filed a wrongful death claim against the driver who took his wife's life. That lawsuit seeks access to the driver's phone records, as well as $25,000 in damages. The wrongful death claim says that the Maryville man was careless and negligent when he sped into the filling station, oblivious to people on foot.

Recently, police charged the driver with first-degree involuntary manslaughter. A witness in the case said the man was known for huffing Freon, a tank of which was found in his car at the time of the crash. The witness said the man had passed out on previous occasions after ingesting Freon fumes.

It would be impossible to account for the grief and suffering the deceased woman's family must feel. However, her husband's wrongful death claim may offer some financial relief during an already devastating time, and the family may well achieve some measure of justice by holding the responsible party liable.

Source: stltoday.com, "Police: Driver high before crash that killed St. Louis mother," Jan. 23, 2012

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Bonifield & Rosenstengel
16 East Main Street
Belleville, IL 62220

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