A man leaving a gas station makes a dangerous left turn, crossing over two lanes of traffic and into the path of oncoming vehicles. The man's car doesn't hit anything, but the other cars crash and one of the drivers is killed. This is what happened several years ago near Route 51 in Jefferson Hills, and this month, the Pennsylvania Superior Court made an important ruling on the case.
The defendant argued that because his car didn't physically strike anything, there wasn't enough evidence to prove that he was "involved" in an accident. The Superior Court disagreed, ruling that if an accident involves death or personal injury, a person can be convicted on criminal charges even if they don't hit anything with their vehicle.
This ruling is important. Say, for instance, someone intentionally runs you off the road but doesn't make impact with your car. You're injured and your passenger is killed. Had this ruling not been made, the person who caused the accident could potentially have been found not guilty. Now, however, the courts have the power to hold people responsible for the reckless, and sometimes fatal, decisions they make on our roads.