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Woman pleads guilty in deadly DUI crash

A 69-year-old woman has been convicted of several felony counts in connection with the drunk-driving death of an 89-year-old resident of Sunset Beach. The driver pleaded guilty to two charges in connection with the victim's wrongful death, including felony death by motor vehicle and felony serious injury by motor vehicle. The suspect was sentenced to more than a year's prison time, according to media reports.

Authorities said the woman had a blood alcohol content of 0.31 percent after the 2011 accident. That amounts to nearly four times the legal driving limit in the state of North Carolina. The woman's BMW crossed the center line as she drove along N.C. 179, causing her to collide head-on with the victims' vehicle. Official reports show that the decedent's husband was in the car with her at the time of her death. The husband survived despite his serious injuries.

A wrongful death suit has already been filed in connection with the accident. The decedent's relatives allege that the woman's husband had convinced her to get behind the wheel even though she had been drinking. Not only are the driver and her husband named in the suit, but the operators of a Food Lion store in the area have also come under fire for their potential role in the crash.

According to media reports, employees at the grocery store had often refused to sell alcohol to the woman because she was frequently intoxicated. On the day of the fatal accident, however, she was able to successfully purchase a bottle of wine at about 10 a.m. The collision occurred shortly thereafter. Family members are seeking more than $10,000 in compensatory damages through the suit.

The civil suit in this case can provide compensation for the family members of the decedents. They could recover financial claims for wrongful death, along with pain and suffering, loss of consort, emotional distress and more.

Source: starnewsonline.com, "Woman, 69, pleads guilty in fatal 2011 wreck," F.T. Norton, April 2, 2013

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