Highway auto accidents are associated with some of the most deplorable of human tragedies. And, when alcohol is a contributing factor to a fatal accident the waste of human life is magnified. That unwelcome spectacle recently occurred when a Georgia man raced his car recklessly into oncoming traffic in a no-passing zone, causing his own death and the deaths of four others, including a 1-year-old child.

A spokesman for the Georgia State Patrol confirmed that the horrific two-car crash was caused by the reckless acts of a 28-year-old male driver who hit an oncoming vehicle head-on, killing himself and four people in the other car, including its driver. Authorities took blood from the man’s body, and he is suspected of having alcohol in his system. Two teenage passengers also in the other car survived but were airlifted in critical condition to area hospitals.

The accident occurred in LaGrange, Georgia near the Alabama border. Witnesses reported that the deceased driver was operating at a high rate of speed when he crossed into the no-passing lane and struck the oncoming car driven by a 23-year-old woman from LaGrange. One witness stated that the man sped past his vehicle but could have returned safely to the correct lane. Instead, he increased his reckless acts by trying to pass another car ahead of them.

In Georgia, when a negligent person causes a fatal accident, the next of kin of deceased victims are entitled to bring a wrongful death action against the wrongdoer or his estate. Compensation can include reimbursement of medical expenses, the decedent’s estimated lost earnings for his lifetime, pain and suffering prior to death, and funeral expenses. Where reckless acts or alcohol are involved, punitive damages may be awarded. Although monetary compensation cannot make up for the loss of life, the law intends to at least create a measure of relief for those most affected by the tragedy.

Source: daltondailycitizen.com, “5 killed, 2 injured in head-on crash in west Ga.,” Feb. 9, 2013