The Fresno County Superior Court sentenced a 22-year-old man from Fresno to 16 years and 4 months in prison following an accident that killed a homeless man. The accident occurred during a chase with police that reached high speeds. The 22-year-old man initially faced charges of murder regarding the pedestrian accident and death of the 46-year-old homeless man who was struck and killed.

Had he been convicted of murder, he could have been sentenced to at least 15 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison. However, the man instead plead no contest to voluntary manslaughter. He also faced additional charges of the possession of drugs, hit-and-run and evading the police.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the 22-year-old man had passengers within his vehicle and was being chased by police when he ran over the homeless man. He had lost control of his vehicle on the highway off-ramp and then struck a panhandling homeless man. The homeless man was taken to the hospital for treatment but later died of his injuries.

Had the homeless man survived his injuries, he would have been able to pursue personal injury compensation against the 22-year-old man who had run him over. However, because he has passed away, his family would have to pursue compensation in regards to his death. A wrongful death claim can be raised by the victim’s family. A wrongful death claim will allow them to pursue compensation in regards to the loss of life, as well as any costs associated with the medical treatment of him before his death, the burial costs and other similar costs. Those facing charges such as this young man sometimes plead no contest because it can help them in the following civil charges such as personal injury claims.

Source: The Fresno Bee, “,” Pablo Lopez, June 28, 2013

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