We’ve told you about the fatal hit-and-run accident which took place on I-15 in Las Vegas last month that claimed the life of a 44-year old mother of two. A woman fled the scene of an accident after the Mercedes she was allegedly driving slammed into an SUV, killing assistant casino manager Inaya Sabra. The suspect also rear-ended a pickup truck, whose driver suffered neck and spinal injuries. About two weeks after disappearing on foot, the suspect, 31-year old Natalie Dawn Dubuisson, turned herself in to authorities.
But what seems like a cut-and-dried case is being muddied by Dubuisson’s refusal to give a statement to the Nevada Highway Patrol. As a result, she has not yet been charged with any crime because the NHP cannot prove she was behind the wheel of the Mercedes which caused the crash. And Nevada law only requires the driver of a vehicle to remain on the scene of a motor vehicle accident – but says nothing about the passengers in that vehicle.
But here is an important point to remember: while prosecutors must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Dubuisson was the driver of the vehicle in order to obtain a criminal conviction, that standard does not apply in civil cases. Therefore, it is entirely possible that Dubuisson may be acquitted of (or never charged with) manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident, and other criminal charges – but still be found liable in a personal injury lawsuit brought by the driver of the pickup truck and/or a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Sabra’s family members. If this were the case, Dubuisson may not be fined or incarcerated, but she may be ordered to pay monetary damages to the plaintiffs – just like O.J. Simpson did over a decade ago.