In criminal cases involving allegations of vehicular homicide, the concept of proximate cause is extremely important. To obtain a vehicular homicide conviction, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the proximate cause of the death was the accused driver’s being intoxicated. The mere fact that a driver had traces of alcohol in his or her bloodstream is not sufficient evidence to support a vehicular homicide conviction.
These issues may come up after a recent arrest in Nashville. According to police, a Murfreesboro man was driving near the Harding Place exit off of Interstate 24 when his vehicle struck a man crossing the street. The accident happened at night. The pedestrian’s fiancée was with him at the time, and she claimed that the two were in a crosswalk when the collision occurred.
After the driver stopped, police arrived on the scene and conducted field sobriety tests. He was then transported to a hospital for a blood draw. Authorities will analyze the sample for traces of drugs or alcohol. Such sample-taking is typical after a fatal car accident.
Police claim that the driver admitted to consuming wine at some point prior to the collision, though there was no word of the results of a blood-alcohol test at the time of an April 17 report.
When an accused individual’s rights and freedom are on the line in a criminal case, it is important to carefully analyze the circumstances that led up to the arrest. News reports generally provide only one side of the story -- that of police -- and anyone accused of a crime has the right to his or her day in court.
Source: News Channel 5, "Driver Charged In Crash That Killed Pedestrian," April 17, 2014