A third member of an Oklahoma high school cross country team has died after a pedestrian accident.
The accident happened earlier this month. According to authorities, a driver of a pickup truck plowed into the cross country team as they were doing a training run. The team was running on the sidewalk next to the street at the time of the accident.
The driver of the pickup truck was reportedly driving more than three times the legal speed limit, speeding at 80 miles per hour where the speed limit was 25 miles per hour. The driver went across multiple traffic lanes before steering his pickup on to the sidewalk.
The driver struck six members of the team. One of them died at the scene of the accident, and another died the following day after being transported to a nearby hospital. The third injured student died after spending a couple of weeks in the hospital.
The other three runners whom the driver stuck were treated for their physical injuries and have all returned home from the hospital.
Police say that they have evidence that the driver was under the influence of either alcohol or another drug at the time of the accident.
They have filed charges against the driver for manslaughter, as well as drunk driving charges and charges of leaving the scene of the accident, since he initially drove away after hitting the team.
The loss all of these families, even the families of those students who survived, is profound. Three young lives are over, and several more have been permanently affected on many levels. The saddest part about this tragedy is that it seems very preventable.
In this case, punitive damages may be available. As the name implies, punitive damages exist to punish people who injure others because of flagrantly dangerous behavior, including driving under the influence. Punitive damages can be an additional source of compensation for injured parties.