Prosecutors Considering Charges in Fatal Wrong-Way Accident Involving Police Officer and College Students

By April 29, 2009Auto Accidents

St. Louis County prosecutors have taken more than a month to consider whether to file charges against an off-duty police officer for her role in a fatal car crash, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported April 28. According to the Post-Dispatch, off-duty Sunset Hills policewoman Christine Miller drove her car the wrong way down Dougherty Ferry Road early in the morning of March 21. No charges have been filed, but the Missouri Highway Patrol said it handed the case to St. Louis County prosecutors on March 25. A spokesman for the prosecutors’ office said it may take six months to a year to hear from accident reconstruction specialists.
The crash killed four people and injured two, including Miller herself. The Post-Dispatch said that Miller was driving east at a high rate of speed when she hit a westbound Honda head-on in the westbound lane. The crash killed three young women studying at Eastern Illinois University: Anusha Anumolu, Anita Lakshmi and Prya Muppvarapu. Also killed was Lakshmi’s cousin, Satya Chinta of Chicago. Lakshmi’s fiancé, Nitesh Adusumilli of Ballwin, suffered serious injuries. Miller herself was critically injured in the crash. A Missouri Highway Patrol spokesman said after the accident that police suspected Miller may have been drinking, but no further information was reported.
Judging by comments to the article, the delay in prosecutors’ decision has generated some anger among people who believe Miller is receiving special treatment because of her job. However, as an experienced St. Louis car accident attorney, I see a couple of possible legitimate reasons to delay filing charges. One has to do with the seriousness of the alleged crime. If they can file stronger charges after proving that Miller was legally intoxicated, prosecutors may feel that waiting is worthwhile. Given the seriousness of Miller’s injuries, they may also be delaying charges until she is well enough to give her side of the story. And in last July’s tragic trucking accident on I-40, it took nine months for prosecutors to bring back charges, suggesting that the wheels of justice turn slowly and carefully in all cases.
Regardless of whether law enforcement presses charges against an irresponsible driver, victims of that driver have the right to pursue their own cases in civil court. People who have been hurt on our roads because of another driver’s carelessness may file a southern Illinois auto accident lawsuit to seek compensation for their injuries, the deaths of loved ones and all of the costs of a serious accident such as this one. Money cannot undo a serious accident, unfortunately, but it can help victims put their lives back together by paying for past and future medical care and other bills caused by the accident, helping them make ends meet if they cannot work and compensating them for a permanent disability or loss of a loved one.
If you are in this situation and you’d like to learn more, Carey, Danis & Lowe can help. For more than 20 years, our Missouri car wreck lawyers have won millions of dollars for clients injured through no fault of their own. To tell us about your case at a free, confidential consultation, you can contact Carey, Danis & Lowe online or call us toll-free at 1-877-678-3400.