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NJ woman to file wrongful death suit after DUI death

A New Jersey widow has filed a notice of intent to sue multiple parties who she claims contributed to her husband's car accident death. The wrongful death lawsuit will name several parties, including Ewing Township, the Ewing Police Department and an individual officer, The College of New Jersey and the State of New Jersey, and a college dormitory and fraternity.

The fatal car accident took place in December, when a 23-year-old TCNJ student left his apartment at the college's Thomas W. Hausdoerffer Hall, visibly intoxicated after a night of drinking. He got behind the wheel and began to drive erratically, which was soon noticed by officers with the Ewing Police Department. When the officers attempted to pull the student over, he fled.

The officers pursued the student, with both parties driving at high speeds. The student then crashed head-on with a 52-year-old newspaper carrier. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

The wife of the newspaper carrier is now alleging that the defendants were negligent in their various roles. She claims that the college, dorm and fraternity allowed the student to leave campus intoxicated, and that the police department and officer conducted an improper high-speed chase that ultimately caused the accident and her husband's death.

Under New Jersey law, a potential claimant has 90 days from the time of an alleged harm by a public entity to file a tort claims notice, as the widow did. Now, the public entity (the town, police department, college and state) have 90 days during which to investigate the alleged harm. At that point, the widow is entitled to file her wrongful death lawsuit, which she will likely do.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a DUI accident, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.

Source: The Trentonian, "Widow to sue Ewing PD, TCNJ, State of NJ & a fraternity after DUI cop chase kills former Trentonian carrier", Joan Galler, 15 March 2011

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