A tragic accident late Friday night killed one and seriously injured another driver. Hamden police responded to a collision at approximately 1:38 a.m. when one car, driven by James McKenna, 55, of New Haven, hit a second vehicle head-on when it crossed the median on Whitney Avenue.
McKenna was driving southbound while the other driver, Taya Petteway-Campbell, 22, of Hamden, was headed northbound when McKenna’s car crossed the double yellow center lines and hit the other vehicle head-on.
McKenna was sent to Yale-New Haven Hospital after suffering critical injuries, where he was later pronounced deceased. Petteway-Campbell received treatment at Yale-New Haven Hospital for serious injuries. The accident remains under investigation.
Negligence and drunk driving
Sadly, the hazardous road conditions that aggravate winter driving become even more deadly when people decide to get behind the wheel after drinking. The spike in holiday-related imbibing during the current national health crisis has made the work of law enforcement and emergency responders even more challenging.
About one in three traffic deaths in the United States is due to drunk driving, and according the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), Connecticut had the highest percentage of drunk driving fatalities in 2017. Nearly half of the state’s alcohol-related fatal crashes had at least one driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more, and 75% with a BAC of .15 or higher.
Fortunately, penalties for operating under the influence, or OUI, in Connecticut have gotten much stiffer since 2015. They also impose ignition interlock requirements after license suspension for all offenders, even for those who were not convicted but refused to take a chemical test.
Filing a wrongful death claim
The unexpected and sudden loss of a loved one in a tragic accident is devastating. In a situation where the accident was caused by reckless or distracted driving, or impaired or drunk driving, it is possible to pursue a wrongful death claim with the help of an experienced personal attorney.
Connecticut law allows compensation for the costs of medical and nursing care as well as funeral expenses. Loved ones can pursue compensation for conscious pain and suffering, as well as loss of the capacity to enjoy life. A spouse can receive compensation for loss of earning capacity and companionship, among other claims. While this will not bring a loved one back, it can provide needed closure to the surviving family.