Thousands of pedestrians are killed or catastrophically injured in Washington and around the country each year after being struck by motor vehicles. One such accident took place in Connecticut during the early morning hours of Oct. 1. According to a police report, a 49-year-old wheelchair-bound woman lost her life after being stuck by a drunk driver who then fled the scene. The 59-year-old man who was with her at the time was also struck and suffered life-threatening injuries.

Police respond to 911 calls

The events unfolded in Hartford’s Frog Hollow neighborhood at approximately 1:40 a.m. Hartford Police Department officers were dispatched to the intersection of Washington Street and Park Street after emergency operators reported that two pedestrians had been struck by an SUV. They arrived to find the man and woman lying in the street. Reports suggest that they may have been on the sidewalk when they were struck. Both of the victims were rushed by ambulance to an area trauma center. The woman was pronounced dead upon arrival, and the man suffered critical injuries.

Hit-and-run driver arrested

The Acura SUV that struck the two pedestrians did not remain at the scene. A witness is said to have followed the SUV onto Interstate 84. Police pulled the vehicle over a short time later and took the 34-year-old woman behind the wheel into custody. She faces charges including drunk driving, vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident. Her bond has been set at $400,000.

The facts speak for themselves

The burden of proof is usually on the plaintiff in a civil lawsuit, but there are situations where this situation is reversed. Res ipsa loquitur is a legal principle that places the onus on civil defendants to prove that they were not negligent when the facts clearly suggest that they were. Personal injury attorneys with experience in motor vehicle accident cases might argue that res ipsa loquitur should apply when pedestrians on the sidewalk are struck by motor vehicles.