Two drivers in recent weeks have been charged with negligent driving after crashing on Washington roads.
"Negligent," under the Revised Code of Washington, means the driver failed to exercise ordinary care and did something a reasonably careful person would not have done in the same circumstances or failed to do something a reasonably careful person would have done.
A crash Thanksgiving weekend near Montesano about 40 minutes west of Olympia, sent eight people to the hospital. Six of the injured were children, who ranged in age from 11 months to 12 years. Two of the children, ages 6 and 9, had to be airlifted to the hospital.
The crash occurred at about 10:20 p.m., when Washington State Patrol troopers said the 28-year-old driver fell asleep at the wheel and drove off the road after failing to negotiate a turn. The minivan she was driving hit a tree on the front passenger side and the impact spun the van 90 degrees. The adults were wearing seat belts, but the children were not.
Another crash in mid-November caused a 38-year-old driver to roll his car. The crash occurred in Pasco, about 80 minutes southwest of Yakima. Washington State Patrol troopers said the driver was traveling too fast for road conditions and rolled his Ford Mustang on a Sunday afternoon. The driver was injured and taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
In both cases, the drivers were charged with negligent driving in the second degree.
In September a man was charged with negligent driving after hitting three college basketball coaches on a recruiting trip. The incident occurred along Interstate 90 near Spokane. The coaches from Idaho and a fourth person were driving in an SUV through Spokane on their way to Portland, Ore., on a scouting trip when they hit a deer. The men were standing on the shoulder of the interstate as a tow truck driver pulled over to help them. A man driving a Jeep swerved to miss the tow truck and struck three of the coaches who were taken to the hospital. The owner of the Jeep was charged with negligent driving.
A person is guilty of negligent driving in the second degree if, under circumstances not constituting negligent driving in the first degree, he or she operates a motor vehicle in a manner that is both negligent and endangers -- or is likely to endanger -- any person or property. Second-degree negligent driving is a traffic infraction subject to a $250 fine.
Negligent driving in the first degree is similar to the second-degree charge, but the driver is impaired by liquor, marijuana or another drug. It is a misdemeanor, punishable by a jail term of up to three months, or a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
Regardless of the circumstances of your arrest, if you are facing criminal charges in Washington state, call the Seattle law office of Steve Karimi at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online.