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Teenager killed in suspected drunk driving accident

A 22-year-old Missouri woman is facing drug possession, vehicular assault and drunk driving charges after an automobile accident in Jefferson County on the afternoon of Jan. 20 left her 19-year-old passenger dead. A Missouri Highway Patrol report says that the woman was also seriously injured in the crash, and she was transported, along with the driver of the other vehicle involved, to a local hospital for treatment. The accident took place on Highway 30 near House Springs at approximately 2:15 p.m.

According to the MHP, the woman was crossing Highway 30 when her Kia sedan was struck by an approaching Jeep SUV. Police say that the woman had been proceeding eastbound on Lower Byrnes Mill Road and was attempting to reach Indian Springs Road. The Jeep struck the Kia with enough force to push it off the roadway and down an embankment. The car finally came to a rest after striking a tree. Reports indicate that the woman pulled directly into the path of the oncoming Jeep.

The woman's passenger was pronounced dead at the car crash scene. Police took the woman into custody about five hours later after she had received emergency medical treatment. Initial reports do not indicate what led police to conclude that she had been driving while under the influence of alcohol.

When accident reports are clear and negligent motorists face criminal charges, establishing liability in car accident lawsuits may be relatively straightforward. However, accident victims may be able to pursue civil remedies even when no charges have been filed. This is because the burden of proof in criminal cases is far higher than it is in civil litigation. Prosecutors must establish proof of guilt beyond any reasonable doubt, but in civil lawsuits, plaintiffes are only required to demonstrate that their arguments are supported by the preponderance of the evidence.

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