Three young woman from West Warwick are the victims of a fatal car accident in Pawtucket. The deadly crash occurred on Walcott Street last Thursday. The driver of the vehicle, 21-year-old James Belanger of Pawtucket, is believed to have been speeding prior to losing control of his vehicle. The car crashed into a utility pole killing two of the young woman instantly, the third later died at Rhode Island Hospital. The driver and another front-seat passenger incurred minor injuries. At this time, it is unknown if the victim’s families have hired a lawyer to file a wrongful death case against the driver.
Pawtucket Police Describe Crash Scene as “Devastating”
When the vehicle hit the utility pole, the impact tore the back seat from the front seat. None of the young ladies in the back seat were wearing a seatbelt and all were ejected from the vehicle. The front seat passenger, who is an accident witness, was wearing a seatbelt and survived the wreck. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that of the over 35,000 people killed in car crashes in 2015, 48% were not wearing a seatbelt.
Driver Faces Numerous Charges, Possibly More
The driver fled the scene of the accident and was found a quarter of a mile away. Pawtucket police said Belanger told the police he had a “couple of beers” and two marijuana cigarettes the evening of the accident. He was also in possession of cocaine. Belanger has been charged with three counts of duty to stop in an accident resulting in personal injury and/or death. As required by Rhode Island law, when a driver is involved in any type of accident they must stop. Failing to stop after being involved in an accident involving personal injury or death can mean loss of license, fines, and/or imprisonment for the driver. He is also charged with three counts of driving to endanger with death resulting, and one count each of possession of cocaine and driving while in the possession of a controlled substance. If convicted of these offenses in RI, a driver may lose their license, be subject to fines and/or imprisonment. Belanger may also be charged with DUI resulting in death, depending on toxicology reports.
Alcohol, Drugs, Played a Role in Crash
In addition to speeding, alcohol and drugs clearly played a part in the fatal Pawtucket crash. Alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two can greatly impair a driver’s judgement. Driving while drunk or drug impaired can result in a car accident causing death or serious injuries with lifetime repercussions. Drunk driving can result in the driver losing their license and also jail time. Those who have lost a loved one to a fatal car crash should discuss their rights with a Providence accident attorney as they may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver at fault for the accident. Attorney David Tapalian helps eligible family members seek compensation for their losses including medical bills, unearned potential wages, and pain and suffering. If you or a loved one have been hit by a drunk driver or involved in an accident with an impaired driver, seek the advice of a RI car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Tapalian Law is a Providence personal injury law firm specializing in helping the victims of car accidents. We help clients in Providence, Pawtucket, and all over Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Contact us today by phone at
or email for a free review of your case.