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Methuen Police Officer Arrested in Fatal Drunk Driving Crash

A Methuen police officer has been arrested for the death of a Lowell man in an alcohol-related car crash, according to a recent article from CBS Local Boston. The police officer was charged with Operating Under the Influence (OUI) of intoxicating liquor or drugs, vehicular homicide involving alcohol, and open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, and he was given a citation for a marked lanes violation and negligent operation.

1342726_alcohol.jpgAs your Boston drunk driving accident lawyer knows, OUI is the name for a DUI charge in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Witnesses say that the defendant was in an SUV traveling west on Riverside Drive in Lowell at just after midnight, when he crossed over the centerline and hit the victim’s car. The victim was trapped in the car, and firefighters had to use the Jaws of Life to get the victim out of the wrecked vehicle. The victim was then taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The victim was out that night to pick up his sister from work. She was taken to the hospital after the crash and was reported to be in stable condition. The extent of her injuries has not been released.

The defendant is being held on $500,000 cash bail, due to the allegations in this case and the fact that he was arrested last year for drunk driving as well. In that case, he refused to take a breathalyzer and lost his driver’s license for six months.

In a case like this, someone from the defendant’s insurance company will likely call the victim’s family, along with the victim’s sister who was in the accident, immediately after the collision. The reason is that the insurance company knows it has a better chance of getting away without paying significant compensation if they speak to the victims before the victims speak with an attorney.

The insurance companies lobbied for a federal law that prohibits an attorney from contacting accident victims for 21 days following an accident, unless the accident victim contacts the attorney first. This law does not prevent an insurance company from contacting the accident victims immediately after the accident. The auto insurance company typically tells the family member, who is in an emotionally fragile state, that they will make things easier by offering a quick settlement. This offer is probably going to be ridiculously low, due to the fact that many victims do not know that if they take that money and sign a release, they cannot file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Once you take the money, you have released the negligent driver and his or her insurance company from all responsibility stemming from the collision.

The insurance company is not on your side, no matter what they say on the phone. They are a big business that wants to pay out as little as possible on accident claims, so their profits are higher. You should speak with a drunk driving accident lawyer before making any statements or reaching any deals with an insurance company.

If you have been injured in a Boston drunk driving accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

Lowell Police Officer Charged With OUI In Fatal Methuen Crash, August 23, 2014, CBS Local Boston
More Blog Entries:

2 passengers dead after drunk driver crashes car into Naperville quarry, July 3, 2014, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog