New Jersey Woman Survives Minor Car Accident only to be Killed by Alleged Drunk Driver

Though we’ve said it many times here, it always bears repeating: climbing into a car or truck while possible intoxicated by alcohol or some other substance is a potentially dangerous activity. As a New Jersey drunken driving defense attorney and former municipal prosecutor, I understand the consequences of operating a motor vehicle while impaired. Certainly being stopped by police is a bad situation if one is found to be drunk at the time, but causing an accident — especially a fatal car crash — is something nobody wishes for.

This said, it should be obvious that injuring or killing another person as a result of an alleged drunk driving traffic will not sit well with the police or the court of the municipality in which the offense occurred. The complications of such an event mean that the defendant should seriously consider enlisting the services of a qualified and experienced DWI defense attorney.

Newspapers and the internet are filled with stories of motorists involved in bad situations not always of their own making, but nonetheless human nature being what it is, there will likely always be traffic accidents caused in some way, shape or form by alcohol use; not to mention impaiment by prescription medication or illegal drug use. As motorists ourselves, we cannot escape that reality, but we can remind people to be cautious, enlist the services of a designated driver, or take a cab or bus when one is intoxicated and unable to drive competently.

We were reminded of the tragic results of drinking and driving not long ago when we ran across a short article describing an alleged drunken driver who had been arrested in connection with a fatal traffic accident that took the life of a 71-year old woman over in Ocean County, NJ. According to the article the victim was being driven home by her husband following a minor traffic accident when the couple’s pickup truck was hit head-on by a van along a stretch of Rte 70.

New reports indicate that the fatal drunken driving collision took place around 7pm on a Saturday evening as 74-year-old Ed McCarthy was driving his wife, Jean, back home after she was involved in a reportedly minor fender-bender wreck. As the older couple was headed to their home, a van driven by 28-year-old Abel Hernandez apparently crossed the centerline and smashed into the McCarthy’s vehicle. Police reports show that Hernandez tried to leave the scene of the fatal crash by foot, but was apprehended by police not far from the crash site.

According to reports, Mrs. McCarthy — who ironically had not been injured in the earlier car accident — died at a local hospital not long after the crash. Her husband was medevaced to a different hospital, where he was listed in serious condition the following day — no further information was given on the prospects for his recovery from the injuries he suffered in the crash.

At the time of the news article, Hernandez had reportedly been jailed in lieu of $175,000 bail and was facing charges of drunken and reckless driving, as well as death by auto. There was no mention of how soon the man would be appearing in court to hear the charges against him.

Woman Killed in Head-on Crash After Surviving Minor Accident, NBCPhiladelphia.com, December 18, 2011