Certain locations are often viewed as inherently dangerous for motor vehicles and pedestrians, including busy streets, blind intersections, and the like. One site that is not considered as dangerous by most people is convenience store gas pumps. Cars and pedestrians typically move slowly in these areas, and the chances for an uncontrolled collision are small.
According to media reports, the victim was leaving the convenience food store and was struck by an SUV whose driver had just completed filling the vehicle’s gas tank. The driver of the SUV was apparently pulling away from the pump and the driver did not see the victim.
Police say they are continuing to investigate the incident but that they do not expect to file any criminal charges against the driver.
Criminal liability distinguished from civil liability
The family of the victim may have a claim for wrongful death damages against the driver of the SUV, but the current decision of the South Abington Township police to refrain from filing criminal charges may be seen as a discouraging sign.
Proving that the SUV driver committed a crime requires proof of knowledge and intent of wrongdoing.
Establishing liability for a motor vehicle accident requires only proof that the defendant was negligent, i.e, failed to obey his common law duty to take due care in the operation of his vehicle.