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Sleep deprivation might have caused crash


As the investigation in the crash that killed a 65-year-old woman from Pennsylvania continues, the evidence shows that the driver, 19, who is allegedly responsible only had about three hours of sleep during the 24 hours before the accident. She worked a long shift immediately after her college classes, and the fatal car accident happened at around 8:30 a.m., just 15 minutes after she left her workplace.

An emergency worker testified that the teen confessed to him that she might have dozed behind the wheel just moments before the crash on April 12. Text messages on her phone confirm that she was sleep-deprived. However, the prosecution has not accused her of texting while driving. She and the other woman's granddaughter also suffered significant injuries and were treated at a medical facility.

The teen is charged with reckless endangerment, manslaughter and traffic violations; she also faces charges of vehicular homicide. According to her lawyer, the teen wept during the hearing on Aug. 6 because she did not recall the events of the accident and was upset to hear about it. While the prosecution brought up the possibility that she was speeding, her attorney argued that testimony related to her speed was not given by an expert witness. However, her lawyer has retained an accident reconstruction expert to investigate the accident scene in order to help determine her speed.

Falling asleep behind the wheel is a form of negligence. A guilty verdict in a criminal court case related to a death in such an accident could open the door for a wrongful-death lawsuit. A personal injury lawyer might file civil charges on the behalf of the victim's family