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Louisiana teen thrown from car; dead at scene

Two families in Louisiana are tragically altered following the events of a terrible crash that claimed the life of a teenager earlier this month. One person identified as the driver of the vehicle in the car accident is incarcerated and facing criminal charges of negligent homicide and obstruction of justice. Killed in the crash was a passenger who was thrown from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.

The family of the victim is crushed by the outcome of what it and the broader Caldwell Parish community sees as a senseless accident that could have been avoided. According to state police, the driver and a third passenger originally blamed the accident on the victim. It was his car that was involved. However, officials say the victim was in the backseat. The driver eventually came forward about the facts.

Officials say the three friends in the car were attempting to pass a pickup truck prior to the accident. Reports indicate that the vehicle had gone into the left lane and had accelerated to pass. As the car moved to return to the right lane, it struck the front of the pickup truck. The car then rolled and caromed into a barbed wire fence. Officials say the teen who died was not wearing his seatbelt and was thrown from the vehicle. It's unclear whether the other two individuals suffered any injuries.

The teenage driver now faces criminal charges which could lead to a $15,000 fine and nearly 10 years in prison if convicted. The victim's family, meanwhile, retains the right to file a wrongful death action against the driver. This type of legal action is permissible in Louisiana but must be based upon evidence that negligence caused or contributed to the car accident and resulting injuries. If the driver is convicted in criminal court, proof of that conviction may be offered in a related civil proceeding as evidence of negligent conduct for which monetary damages could be assessed.

Source: KNOE-TV, "Caldwell Parish, accident, teen dies in car crash," Victoria Shirley, Oct. 9, 2012

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