Duluth Driver Who Took Heroin Veers onto Sidewalk, Kills Cub Scout Leader

A father of four, Cub Scout leader and model employee at Goodwill Industries tragically died when he was run over by a driver who took heroin. The man who died had moved to the Northland from New York City more than 10 years ago and was simply out for an afternoon walk when a driver veered off a West Duluth street and ran into him on Saturday, December 19. He died at the scene and the van’s driver has now been charged with criminal vehicular homicide and second-degree DWI. The criminal complaint against the at-fault driver said he admitted to using heroin and being up without sleep for days before the crash.

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Accident attorneys Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman have recovered millions for victims and their next of kin. Contact them for a free consultation

According to the complaint in St. Louis County District Court, the at-fault driver admitted to officers that he was driving the van. Witnesses told investigators they saw the van weaving before it jumped the curb on Grand Avenue, near Main Street, in West Duluth. “He said while he was driving his eyes got heavy and when he looked up the man was right there,” the complaint said.

Minnesota’s DWI law stipulates that it is a crime to drive, operate, or be in control of any motor vehicle anywhere in the state whileƒ under the influence of a controlled substance, or having any amount or the metabolites of a schedule I or II controlled substance, including heroin. Aggravating factors for Smithson include prior DWI offenses and — tragically — causing a death. If convicted, Smithson faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison on the criminal vehicular homicide charge.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Minnesota civil law is separate from criminal statutes. A wrongful death lawsuit in civil court affords family members an opportunity to further punish wrongdoers and collect the maximum amount of compensation that they are entitled to in the eyes of the court. Minnesota accident attorney Fred Pritzker has recovered tens of millions for next of kin in wrongful death litigation against negligent drivers. Working with law partner Eric Hageman, the two recently won more than $2,400.000 million from a Minnesota jury on behalf of a husband whose wife was run over by a semi-truck while riding a bicycle. In other cases, Fred’s law firm recovered $6,000,000 on behalf of a 26 year-old woman who lost a leg in a road accident when she was struck by a drunk driver. The firm won another $5,150,000 on behalf of a motorcyclist who suffered an amputation injury when an unqualified and overtired delivery truck driver collided with him.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident, call our firm for a free case consultation. Talking to one of our lawyers costs you nothing and if we agree to take your case, you owe us nothing until compensation has been won. Leave your contact information for a consultation or call our offices directly at 1-888-377-8900, toll free.

Community Support

Cub Scout Pack #25 of West Duluth has raised more than $10,000 for the family in just a couple of days with a Go Fund Me page. Even before the tragedy, the man who died had been recognized in the Duluth community for his willingness to help other people.

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