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Fatal car accidents are investigated for forensic evidence

In some Missouri accidents, it may take a few days for the authorities to identify the injured or deceased persons. In the meantime, reporting on such car accidents will necessarily be somewhat cryptic. That is apparently what has happened regarding an accident that occurred on Feb. 17 in the westbound lane of I-64 near Clayton Road. Police did not immediately release the identity of the deceased individual nor the person who was hospitalized.

The authorities also did not immediately report on the details of the accident. The operator of a pickup truck that was carrying one passenger appears to have lost control and crashed the truck in some manner that has not been determined. There are no reports of other parties being involved and it appears at this time to have been a one-vehicle accident.

Witnesses at the scene say that both occupants were ejected and thrown from the pickup during the crash. The one died and the other was hospitalized. It is unknown whether the decedent was the operator or the passenger. With respect to liability, the negligent operator of the vehicle will be liable to compensate the deceased or injured passenger, as the case may be. If the driver was killed, then his or her estate will be liable to the injured passenger for personal injury damages.

If the passenger died, then the operator will be liable to the passenger's estate for wrongful death damages. The critical issue of the identity of the participants will be known when the investigators who responded issue at least their preliminary findings. Missouri authorities are dispatched to the scene of fatal car accidents to compile forensic evidence, which will give a generally accurate picture of the details of the accident.

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