The acceptance of the death of a loved one is painful for any Erie County family. The family's stability is rocked when supporting family members die suddenly and violently.
A mother of five and her eldest child died in a car crash police say was caused by a jobless PCP user. The 36-year-old mother had been struggling for years to raise five children following her husband's death. The second casualty was the widow's 18-year-old daughter.
The family's circumstances started to improve just a few months before the fatal accident. Insurance money from the father's accidental death allowed the woman and her children to purchase a home for the first time.
Law enforcers said the 31-year-old man who caused the collision was high on a "significant amount of wet," a PCP and marijuana combination. Police learned the intoxicated driver was traveling at high speeds when his Dodge Durango smashed head-on into the victims' Honda.
The mother and daughter were pronounced dead at the scene. The defendant was charged with vehicular homicide and vehicular assault for injuries suffered by a passenger in the Durango.
The injured passenger is the one who told authorities she and the driver smoked PCP. Reports said the female's pleas for the driver to slow down were ignored. The man was jailed on $1 million bail.
Treatment for serious injuries delayed the accused man's arraignment for several months. The defendant recently appeared in court to enter a not guilty plea.
The man's criminal history reaches back to his teen years. He was charged with sexual assault as a juvenile and later convicted of aggravated assault. Records show he lost driving privileges multiple times.
The pillars of financial and emotional support in the four surviving children's lives have been removed. This accident will haunt the lives of the survivors and others for decades.
If you have lost a loved one due to another's reckless behavior, speak with an experienced
attorney about your options. Wrongful death claims allow family members to receive financial compensation in civil court from those responsible for your loss.
Prosecutor: Driver in deadly crash smoked 'wet'
" Darran Simon, Aug. 10, 2013