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Former astronaut facing two wrongful death lawsuits

Kentucky space enthusiasts may have heard about a wrongful death case involving former astronaut James Halsell, Jr. According to court documents filed in state and federal court, lawsuits have been filed against him for a DUI wreck that claimed the lives of two girls and injured their father. The 59-year-old Halsell is also facing criminal charges for the accident of reckless murder.

The accident happened on June 6 at 2:50 a.m. just east of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on U.S. Highway 82. The father of the two young girls, who were ages 11 and 13, had reportedly driven to pick them up for the summer from their mother's house in Texas. Halsell reportedly struck their Ford Fiesta from behind, causing the two girls to be thrown from the car. Both were killed, and their father was injured.

Alabama State Troopers said that Halsell couldn't remember the accident. Officers said he smelled of alcohol and made nonsensical statements. After he said he had drank three glasses of wine at a motel, troopers went there and found an empty wine bottle along with an empty package of sleeping pills. The girls' mother filed a federal lawsuit against Halsell and the girls' father filed a lawsuit against Halsell in state court in Tuscaloosa County.

A family that has lost a loved one in an accident caused by the negligence of another may want to consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver. These types of lawsuits may be filed while criminal charges are still pending. Damages often sought by the survivors include funeral and burial expenses as well as loss of companionship.

Source: FOX News, "Wrongful death lawsuits filed against ex-astronaut in crash," June 28, 2016.

Source: Tuscaloosa News, "Former NASA astronaut charged in double-fatal crash," Stephanie Taylor, June 6, 2016

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