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West Virginia man convicted in 2 states for deadly police chase

Troubles snowball when a person flees from responsibility. The initial mistake is just the beginning of a series of lies or missteps that can lead to more wrongdoing and sometimes catastrophic results. For most, but not all West Virginia drivers, owning up to fault outweighs the urge to avoid consequences.

A 2012 police pursuit never would have happened if a Morgantown drunk driver admitted he caused a crash. The chase began after Monongalia County sheriff's deputies stopped the defendant following a hit-and-run accident. At first, the driver denied being involved in the collision and, then, stated he was but didn't cause the accident.

During the traffic stop, the driver sped away after an officer reached inside the pickup truck to try to turn off the vehicle's ignition. The pickup and pursuing authorities headed north out of West Virginia into Pennsylvania. The wanted man reversed course and turned south on Interstate 79, when his truck hit a Jeep.

The Jeep was a Monongalia County sheriff's vehicle, driven by a veteran police sergeant. The officer died of injuries he suffered in the motor vehicle accident. Toxicology tests revealed the pickup truck driver was under the influence of prescription drugs and alcohol, with a blood alcohol content level that more than double the legal limit.

The defendant was found guilty of third-degree murder in Pennsylvania. He recently pleaded guilty to related charges in Monongalia County including repeat DUI, fleeing from an officer with reckless indifference and fleeing causing bodily injury. The man will go to prison for at least 25 years for the murder conviction and may be sentenced to an additional five- to 18-year term for the West Virginia offenses.

A negligent driver doesn't notice or doesn't care about the safety of other motorists. A careless or reckless driver can be held accountable in criminal and civil courts for the injuries and deaths of innocent victims.

Source: Observer-Reporter, "Green pleads to W.Va. charges" No author given, Apr. 10, 2014

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