Society

New Jersey Resident Crashes Car During Heart Attack, Court Won't Waive Charges

| by Jonathan Wolfe
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Dan Langley, 20, recently caused a minor car accident. After assessing the situation, the Spring Lake Heights Police Department gave three traffic tickets to Langley. Sounds normal, right?

Here’s the thing: the accident happened because Langley had a heart attack while he was driving. Reasonably, Langley and his family figured they would be able to get the tickets waived easily in court. They got a doctor to write a note verifying that Langley had, in fact, had a heart attack behind the wheel.

“Please forgive Mr. Langley’s tickets due to his unfortunate experience of having a heart attack prior to his car accident,” the note said. Sounds like a pretty strong case to me.

But apparently, a heart attack is no excuse to wreck a car. Although the court waived two of the tickets, they only downgraded the third ticket, which still carries a fine of $133.  Understandably, Langley and his family are upset.

“What’s the charge? Criminal cardiac arrest?” his father said in an interview with APP. “We feel the system is just completely insensitive to something of this nature. How can you charge anyone with anything? Something’s wrong here, and it needs to be fixed ... This could have been any family. This could have been anyone’s son.”

Although they’re fighting the charges, the Langley’s said that, ironically, the accident might have saved Langley’s life.

“We feel fortunate because the accident attracted immediate attention. We feel it saved his life,” said Dan’s father. “We’re grateful to Sgt. O’Neill of Spring Lake Heights because of his efforts. He started CPR. He’s humble; he says it was a group effort … I can’t say enough about the sergeant. He was at the scene. He went to hospital in ambulance with him.”

No one was hurt in the car accident, and the passenger in the car Langley hit did not bother showing up in court. The ticket that was downgraded to $133 was originally a $200 reckless driving charge. The charge is now for obstructing the passage of another vehicle, and it will add no points to Langley’s license.

But still, can't a guy catch a break? He had a heart attack. If not that doesn’t qualify for a reason to waive the charges, I cannot imagine what does.

Langley, feeling he had no choice, agreed to pay the $133 fine.

Luckily, Langley’s disastrous couple of months should be coming to an end soon.

“The doctor said he will be back to a normal life in a more reasonable time, but not now,” Dan’s father said.  

Source: APP