A man charged with reckless homicide in the death of motorcycle rider in the Augusta area has pleaded guilty. The court sentenced the defendant, 31, to eight years in prison, though all but 90 days of the sentence was suspended. Authorities initially suspected that he was drag racing when car hit the victim’s motorcycle, and it is not clear if that theory has been completely ruled out.
According to the Aiken Standard, the defendant went through a red light at the intersection of the road he was driving on and U.S. Highway 1. While travelling about 60 mph, his car hit a motorcycle that the victim, 51, was riding on the highway.
The rider suffered several severe injuries, and died at the hospital.
The county solicitor said that police initially believed that the defendant was racing his cousin at the time of the crash. The cousin denied that there was a race. It is not mentioned in the Standard if the cousin is also facing criminal charges.
As far as the criminal proceedings, the question of possible drag racing may be moot, now that the defendant has pleaded guilty. However, if the victim’s family pursues a wrongful death claim, it could be important to determine if he and the cousin indeed were racing. For one thing, it could mean that the cousin contributed to the victim’s death. It could also support the claim that the defendant caused the motorcycle accident by acting very recklessly.
Someone who disregards the lives of others on the road so that he or she can play a dangerous game like drag racing should be held responsible when an innocent person is killed. That can mean criminal penalties, but it can also mean a financial payment from a wrongful death suit.
Source: Aiken Standard, “Driver pleads guilty in deadly 2013 motorcycle crash,” Teddy Kulmala, June 19, 2014