This time the punishment could be significant. Last time, the 43-year-old defendant was charged with noncriminal offenses for a fatal head–on collision. Now, he is charged with running down a pedestrian and fleeing the scene.

Reports say the New Jersey resident was in two commercial vehicle collisions. The first was in 2010 when the man’s work truck hit a second vehicle. Authorities said the truck drifted across the road into oncoming traffic and killed a Northeastern Pennsylvania man.

Pennsylvania State Police charged the driver with failing to stay in his lane and careless driving for an unintentional death. A guilty plea was entered.

Law enforcement officials in Bayonne, N.J., arrested the man in March for a second fatal crash. The suspect was making a delivery of dairy products when his truck allegedly struck a young man. Passersby found the victim in the street suffering from catastrophic injuries.

The victim was hospitalized and died after a short time. The hit-and–run suspect was identified and arrested in Camden, N.J., about a month later. Bayonne police charged the man with fleeing the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident. The defendant posted bail.

Reports did not say whether the suspect ever faced a civil action over the Pennsylvania head–on crash. No details were provided about the victim’s family, who could have filed a claim to receive damages for the victim’s and their own suffering.

The Pennsylvania victim, at 51, may have provided his family’s entire income. The emotional loss would be compounded by the absence of financial support. The latest victim, at 22, could have been a college graduate, ready to launch a career. His expectations and life goals would never be realized.

Accident victims are more than forgettable statistics. Injuries and deaths caused by someone else’s careless actions ripple through families, sometimes changing them forever. Civil courts are designed to help victims and their loved ones heal.

Source: nj.com, “Suspect in Bayonne fatal hit-run maintains silence during first court appearance,” Anthony J. Machcinski, April 2, 2013