The family of a motorcyclist killed in a head-on collision with a 21-year-old driver who was drunk, coming down on drugs and extremely fatigued have had their $3.4 million wrongful death verdict affirmed.
Defendant had appealed on several grounds, including that trial court should not have introduced evidence of his drug use in the days leading up to the crash or statements regarding his actions while in the hospital after the crash. The Connecticut Supreme Court, in weighing Fleming v. Dionisio, rejected his arguments and affirmed the verdict.
According to court records, the young driver was working 60-to-70-hour shifts weekly at a local restaurant. He was also not getting much sleep and binging nightly on a mix of alcohol, cocaine and ecstasy in between those shifts. On July 3rd, he’d drank six to eight beers before sleeping three hours and heading into work for a 16-hour shift. He then went home, consumed another six to eight beers over the course of three hours, and then remembered nothing. Sometime between his loss of recollection and 7 a.m. the next morning, he got behind the wheel of a car. He was a short distance away from the restaurant where he worked when he crossed the center line while operating that vehicle, slamming into the motorcyclist, killing him.