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North Carolina limo driver sentenced for crash that killed couple

Many people feel particularly safe when riding in a limousine. They assume that they are in the hands of an experienced, competent driver, so they relax and enjoy the luxurious ride. Sadly, that is not always the case.

According to a Buncombe County, North Carolina, prosecutor, a 46-year-old limo driver had just completed "an all-night binge of crack cocaine" before he set out to drive a young couple to the wedding of a friend. The driver pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a minimum of just over 12 years behind bars for the tragic accident that killed the two teachers last August in Asheville. The town car the defendant was driving went off the road and hit a tree.

The couple, both in their mid-20s, had been married for only a few months themselves when they made the trip to North Carolina to attend the nuptials. The two both had advanced degrees in education. The young woman taught English at a Philadelphia elementary school. Her husband was a math teacher at a charter school.

The defendant could serve over 16 years in prison for charges of felony death by vehicle, driving while impaired and involuntary manslaughter of an unborn child. The young wife was pregnant when she was killed. The mother of the man killed in the crash urged the judge to sentence the defendant to a lengthy prison term, saying, "My sentence is a life sentence."

Companies that hire drivers for trucks, cabs and limousines have an obligation to do everything they can to ensure that the people who work for them are qualified to operate those vehicles and when transporting passengers, to do so safely. In situations where a driver who causes a car accident is driving a company vehicle, that company may be able to be held civilly liable along with the driver.

Source: Philly.com, "Limo driver sentenced for N.C. crash that killed newlyweds from Phila." Emily Babay, Jun. 03, 2014

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