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Ohio teen struck by driver with multiple previous violations

A 24-year-old Ohio driver is facing three misdemeanor charges for hitting a teenage girl in a school crosswalk this past December. The young woman has been charged with failure to yield, driving with a suspended license, and reckless operation of a vehicle. Although she was allowed to drive to work under her suspension, the accident occurred outside the perimeter in which she was supposed to remain.

The accident occurred in Arcanum, Ohio, as the 13-year-old victim was going to school. The girl suffered a head injury that damaged her right temporal lobe. She is reportedly still recovering from her injuries and, according to her mother, continues to experience "constant ringing in her right ear."

According to Darke County prosecutors, the driver has indicated that she will change her initial plea in the case to guilty. However, she has not done that yet in court.

The victim's mother has spoken out to the media about what she thinks should happen to the young woman, who has a history of driving violations. She thinks the woman should go to jail.

The defendant was stopped by police for driving at "excessive speed" in that school zone less than a month before she allegedly struck the teen. In that instance, the officer let her off with a warning. Further, a local television investigative news team learned that the driver's previous driving violations included one less than a week before the December collision. The victim's mother, who says she no longer feels safe letting her daughter walk anywhere, said, "I don't know how someone continuously is allowed to be let go….When and where do we hold that individual accountable?"

Regardless of the criminal penalties this driver ultimately faces, the victim's family may well take her to civil court. In Ohio, brain injuries can require lengthy and costly medical treatment. Sometimes, the effects remain with victims for the rest of their lives. Damages recovered in a civil suit can help lessen the financial burden faced by victims and their families. Additional punitive damages can also act as a deterrent to the at-fault driver and others against reckless or negligent operation of a vehicle. Civil lawsuits can also help those whose lives have been impacted by a reckless driver feel an added sense that justice has been done, particularly if they are not satisfied with the criminal penalties levied against a driver.

Source: WDTN.com, "Arcanum driver accused of hitting student was warned before" Natalie Tendall, Feb. 25, 2014

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