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Bicyclist dies after car crash, driver suspected of DUI

A bicyclist has died after an Oct.26 accident that took place in Bristol, Tennessee, and the motorist who hit him faces a vehicular homicide charge. The incident took place near Canthook Hill Road on Weaver Pike at night.

A Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper reported that a 35-year-old man, from Bristol, hit a bicycle from behind while driving a GMC van. The 37-year-old Bristol man who was struck fell off the bike and ended up in a ditch. The trooper said that the bike and van were off the right side of the road, and the bicycle sustained severe damage. The bicyclist wore a helmet and had a headlight on his bike turned on, but he died after being taken to Bristol Regional Medical Center.

The driver of the van told a trooper that he was at a football party before the accident and that he drank one 24-ounce beer. The man said he saw a headlight when approaching the bike, but the man thought he may have hit a deer. The driver stayed at the scene when he realized he struck a bicyclist and called 911.

The trooper who responded to the accident wrote that the GMC driver used slurred speech and had the smell of alcohol on his breath. A .45 caliber handgun was found in the man's vehicle, and he also faces charges for possession of a handgun while under the influence and DUI.

Motor vehicle accidents involving bicyclists or pedestrians can cause serious injuries or death, but families might have the right to compensation when a crash takes the life of a loved one. A wrongful death claim may allow a family to recover expenses lost due to funeral costs and medical bills. Drunk drivers are negligent and could be held responsible for their actions if they cause injury or death.

Source: TriCities.com, "Bristol man charged with vehicular homicide after crash with bicyclist", Robert Sorrel, October 28, 2014

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