A man with a history of drunk driving is facing four counts of criminally negligent homicide and a civil lawsuit after causing an accident that led to four deaths.
Benjamin Ledwell was driving a 2011 Ford F-250 on May 19, 2015 when he crossed the center line and struck a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander head on. The Chevrolet was consumed by flames immediately after the wreck. Four occupants of the Chevrolet died.
Attorney for the family quickly filed a lawsuit against Ledwell for his negligence and allegedly driving a vehicle under the influence.
“At the time of the collision, defendant Benjamin W. Ledwell, the driver of the truck that crossed the center line and struck the Rhein/Sprankle vehicle head on causing the death of all four occupants, was believed to be under the influence of alcohol and prescription pills,” the lawsuit states. “Empty beer cans and prescription pill bottles were found in defendant’s vehicle on the scene of the crash.”
The lawsuit alleges Ledwell was negligent for failing to maintain a proper lookout and driving too fast. The lawsuit seeks damages for the plaintiff’s non-economic losses, including mental anguish and emotional distress, as well as economic losses, including burial costs, loss of earning, and medical expenses.
This was not Ledwell’s first run in with the law over drunk driving. In 2008 Ledwell was pulled over for twice failing to signal lane changes and following too closely behind another vehicle. The office who pulled him over said that Ledwell reeked of alcohol and performed poorly on a sobriety test. He was arrested for driving while intoxicated.
Lawsuits such as this one help to illustrate the importance of having proper insurance coverage to ensure that all expenses can be covered. In this situation, it is likely that “underinsured motorist coverage” and “personal injury protection” will play a role in covering expenses. Underinsured coverage protects you when you’re involved in an accident with an at-fault driver whose liability limits are too low to cover the damage or medical expenses. In this situation, it likely that the Ledwell did not carry enough coverage to cover economic damages resulting from four deaths. If the “underinsured coverage” is exhausted, attorney’s are likely to go after Ledwell’s personal assets to cover expenses.