- Associated Press - Thursday, November 26, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey appeals court say drivers can be found liable for fleeing the scene of an accident even if it cannot be proven they hit anyone.

The ruling on Wednesday upheld the conviction of Atlantic City taxi driver Jean Sene, NJ.com (https://bit.ly/1Hqf7fn ) reported Thursday.

The Pleasantville man received a five-year sentence for his role in a crash that killed 88-year-old Bu Do Jo, who was struck and killed by a jitney bus in 2011. She either fell or was hit by Sene’s car first, knocking her into the path of the bus.

The bus driver stopped and gave police a statement. Sene testified that he kept driving for another block and parked his vehicle before walking back to the scene. Facts of the case before the court indicate that he did not talk to police and eventually left the scene.

A defense expert argued that there was no definitive evidence showing Sene hit the woman, and that she could have fallen into the path of the bus. A police accident investigator testified that the evidence showed he did strike the woman.

Sene’s attorney said the conviction meant that anyone who passes by a fatal accident without stopping could be liable.

A judge denied Sene’s claim that physical contact was required to prove he was involved. Jurors instead were told to consider only if Sene was involved and knowingly fled.

“Nothing in the plain meaning of the phrase ‘involved in an accident’ requires the element of contact between the vehicle driven by defendant and the victim,” judges Jose L. Fuentes, Ellen Koblitz and Robert J. Gilson wrote in the decision.

The court also ordered Sene to be resentenced.

The public defender’s office that represented Sene did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.


Information from: NJ.com, https://www.nj.com

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