Last week, an Isanti County boy died in a hit-and-run accident. The 14-year-old was skateboarding near the middle of the road, authorities said, when a white truck struck and killed him. The truck did not stop, though, and the sheriff’s office asked the public for help identifying the driver.
The sheriff’s statement included information about the truck as well as an important observation: Authorities believed the boy’s death was a “terrible accident” involving no “malicious intent.” They also said that the driver might not have realized he had even struck the boy: The accident occurred about an hour after sunset, and the boy had a slight build and was wearing dark clothing.
A day later, the sheriff’s office reported that the truck’s driver had come forward and was “cooperating fully” in the investigation. Did the idea that the sheriff’s office knew it was an accident and not an intentional act persuade the driver to turn himself in?
We have no way of knowing at this writing. Still, the driver may have avoided serious criminal charges by coming forward when he did.
In Minnesota, there is such a thing as an accident. But an accident like this may become a criminal matter under certain circumstances, especially if police believe the driver has acted with gross negligence or was driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. The consequences could be 20 years in jail, a substantial fine or both. If the driver left the scene of an accident knowing that someone — the occupant of another vehicle or a pedestrian, for example — was injured, or if the driver was driving while intoxicated, the prosecution could seek the full 20-year sentence. And, any criminal charge will remain on the driver’s record.
If you are involved in an accident and are concerned about possible criminal charges, we encourage you to give us a call. Groshek Law PA will work vigorously on your behalf to obtain the best possible outcome. We may be able to have the charges dropped or reduced, or we may be able to obtain a not-guilty verdict.
Your situation is unique, and you should consider working with an attorney who will pay close attention to the particulars of your case. Let us put our experience and skills to work on your behalf.