An Oregon teenager has been found guilty of felony hit-and-run in connection with an accident that led to the death of two young girls. The 19-year-old woman reportedly was driving down the road when her vehicle went through a pile of leaves near the curb that had been raked for collection. The woman and her two passengers noted a bump when the car accident occurred, but the driver did not stop.
Shortly after returning home, one of the passengers in the vehicle returned to the area where the leaves were and noticed a man screaming over the pile of leaves. After a brief conversation, the boy returned to the driver's home and informed her that she may have hit two children. Instead of coming forward, the woman is said to have remained silent until police located her the following day.
Concealed in the pile of leaves were two young girls. A 6-year-old died at the accident scene, and an 11-year-old died at a hospital shortly thereafter. The woman was charged with felony hit-and-run, and even though attorneys argued that the law is unclear on an individual's requirement to come forward after learning of an accident after the fact, she was found guilty.
While any car accident can be tragic, one involving the death of two young children may be especially devastating for surviving family members. In this case, in addition to the criminal penalties imposed on this Oregon driver, the family of the deceased girls may choose to explore their own legal rights, such as filing civil wrongful death claims against her and any separate owner of the vehicle she was operating. Should they choose to file a wrongful death claim, the family of the girls could receive reparations for financial damages stemming from the tragedy.
Source: The Republic, Oregon teen guilty in hit-and-run accident that killed 2 girls playing in leaf pile, No author, Jan. 15, 2014