On Monday, a young lady involved in a Fulton County hit-and-run accident that killed five people in 2009 was convicted of first-degree felony vehicular homicide. This was a high profile case, not only because the woman in question triggered five deaths, but also because she fled the scene of the accident. This, plus the fact that she and her parents tried to cover up her involvement in the accident, meant the difference between a misdemeanor conviction and a felony.
On Easter last year, Aimee Michael lost control of her vehicle, caused a multi-car pileup, then promptly fled the scene. It took law enforcement more than a week to track her down and make the arrest. In the end, her neighbors tipped off the police. Meanwhile, Michael and her parents tampered with evidence by fixing and painting the car that was involved in the accident. Due to these factors, Michael was convicted not only of traffic violations, but homicide as well.
Vehicular homicide is not always the ruling when someone causes a Georgia car accident that takes lives. To qualify as vehicular homicide, a traffic violation has to be “aggravated;” that is, it must be accompanied by circumstances that indicate the guilty party knowingly or deliberately committed the crime, evaded punishment, and/or otherwise contributed to the obstruction of justice. One such “aggravator” is fleeing the scene.
Michael’s attorneys argued that although she did leave the scene of the crime, she did not actually cause the accident. It didn’t matter. In the end Michael was convicted not only of vehicular homicide, but also hit-and-run, tampering with evidence, and more. If she had stayed put and faced the music, she almost certainly would not be facing as much jail time as she is now. Her sentence has yet to be determined, but in light of the fact that Michael already rejected a plea deal for 50 years in prison, it seems likely that she will be incarcerated for a long, long time.
The moral of this story is that it is imperative upon every driver to take accountability for his or her actions. Ignorance of the law is never an excuse, nor is inexperience with driving. Each driver must always remember that he or she is in command of a thousand or more pounds of of deadly force. Accidents happen, but when they do someone always has to face the music. Michael, like it or not, is facing hers now.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed in a Georgia hit-and-run accident, please don’t wait to seek legal advice. Time is of the essence to gather evidence and bring to justice those responsible for the injuries or deaths they caused. We at the Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle, P.C., are dedicated to seeing that justice is served. As a seasoned Gwinnett County automobile crash lawyer, P. Charles Scholle is ready to help ensure that you are justly compensated for your losses. For a free, confidential consultation at one of our locations in Decatur, Duluth, Buckhead or the Perimeter, please contact our law offices today.