A man was killed in a pedestrian accident involving alcohol, the Portland Press-Herald reported July 27. James Bellefeulle, 50, was walking down Main Street in Saco at around 6:30 in the morning. He was struck and killed by an SUV driven by Michael Woods, 23, of South Portland. Woods was not injured, but he was arrested on suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence. He is being held in York County Jail on $100,000 bail.
The police investigation into this matter has not yet determined who was at fault. If it is determined that the driver was, in fact, intoxicated, it will be necessary to determine whether and to what extent the intoxication delayed the driver’s reaction time and ability to avoid hitting the pedestrian. The pedestrian, according to the news report accounts, was properly walking facing the direction of traffic, something that the law requires. Our Portland car accident law firm has handled several similar cases and successfully tried a case to a jury involving a drunk driver by establishing that the driver’s impairment prevented him from reacting quickly enough to avoid an otherwise avoidable collision. In that case, we used expert witnesses to establish how alcohol impairs reaction time as compared to a sober driver, pointing out that even a few drinks can impair a driver’s reaction time signficantly.
Pedestrian accidents are some of the deadliest accidents on our roads. Even more than other travelers, pedestrians are completely unprotected, without seatbelts, helmets or a steel frame to protect them. In a crash between a pedestrian and a vehicle, the pedestrian is almost always killed or seriously hurt. Recognizing this, Maine law gives drivers a special responsibility to take care when pedestrians are nearby — especially children and the blind. Pedestrians must still avoid running into traffic or other unsafe practices, but Maine drivers are asked to “exercise due care” to avoid a pedestrian accident under any circumstances. If they do not, they could be liable in any Maine car accident lawsuit victims and their families may choose to file.
The law offices of Peter Thompson & Associates represents people throughout Maine who were hurt in a serious car crash. That includes pedestrians hurt by an impatient or careless driver, as well as those hurt by a driver charged with OUI. Our Bangor auto accident lawyers understand that no lawsuit can reverse a serious accident — but thanks to our years of experience, we also know that a serious accident can wreak havoc on an ordinary family’s finances, between six-figure medical bills, missing weeks of work and other accident-related expenses. In a lawsuit, victims can claim all of those financial costs caused by someone else’s carelessness, as well as compensation for their injuries, pain, suffering and any permanent disability or wrongful death.
If you or a loved one was hit by a car while walking in Maine, Peter Thompson & Associates can help. To learn more at a free consultation, you can call us toll-free at 1-800-804-2004 or contact us online.