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Bicyclist dies after Galveston hit-and-run accident

As bicycling becomes more common in Galveston and elsewhere, bike riders are sharing the road with motorists. As the number of bikers climbs, so can the chance of an accident. The Center for Disease Prevention and Control reported that each year about 700 people die as a result of bicycle-related accident injuries.

In Galveston recently, a bicyclist was struck by a car. The driver of the car stopped briefly, but then left the scene of the fatal accident. The 70-year-old bicyclist died of his injuries.

Apparently, a witness or witnesses observed the driver of the car exiting his vehicle and speaking to the injured 70-year-old, but then the driver left. Police were able to provide a rough description of the driver and the vehicle to news sources.

According to a news report, it was some time later that a tow-truck driver or wrecker driver was loading a car, when he thought it might match the description of the car involved in the hit-and-run accident. The wrecker driver notified the police who tracked down the car's owner.

The car's owner, a 33-year-old man, was apparently already in jail for an unrelated drug charge. The 33-year-old driver admitted striking the 70-year-old with his car and has been charged with an accident involving injury or death. The charge is a third-degree felony.

In cases such as this, the driver could be facing civil consequences as well as criminal consequences. If the driver was negligent by speeding or other offense at the time of the accident, he could be held liable for the wrongful death of the 70-year-old man.

The family of the deceased may or may not decide to follow up with civil wrongful death litigation.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Already in jail, motorist charged in fatal hit-and-run," May 10, 2012

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