A Nebraska woman pleaded guilty to charges of misdemeanor vehicular homicide and misdemeanor misuse of a learner's permit in Pawnee County District Court on July 7. The woman hit a horse-drawn buggy in July 2013 and will face sentencing in the future.
The woman was driving a motor vehicle, violating conditions of her learner's permit by not having a licensed driver in the car, when she struck the buggy east of Pawnee City. Two Amish siblings were in the buggy heading to church, and the 17-year-old brother did not survive. His 21-year-old sister was critically injured. Investigators found no evidence that the woman saw or tried to avoid the other vehicle and did not find any outside factors that may have contributed to the collision.
The woman's defense attorney asked the judge to remove himself from this case because the defendant thought he may be too harsh. The judge likened this instance to a drunk driving case. The judge did recuse himself, so a sentencing date is pending.
A car crash resulting in serious injury can mean major economic and noneconomic losses for victims or their families. In a situation like this, one may be able to file a personal injury claim to compensate for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage and more. The driver in this case could be liable because she broke the law by driving without a license and did not appear to attempt to avoid the other vehicle. An attorney might use an accident report and a copy of the driver's learner's permit to build a case for negligence in civil court.
Source: Daily Reporter, "Woman pleads guilty in fatal southeast Nebraska collision between car, horse-drawn buggy", July 08, 2014