Robert Beltran Cedeno, the alleged drunk driver who struck King County Sheriff’s Deputy Donn Potteiger pleaded not guilty to Driving Under the Influence yesterday. Doctors were forced to amputate Deputy Potteiger’s leg as a result of the accident.
Cedeno’s guilt or innocence in his criminal trial is a separate issue from his liability in the civil context for causing Deputy Potteiger’s injuries. First, even if he wasn’t drinking, he was still likely negligent in causing the accident. Second, an acquittal doesn’t mean Cedeno wasn’t driving drunk. It only means that the State couldn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was driving drunk. In the civil context, the standard is lower and evidence of Cedeno’s drinking can help establish his negligence and liability.
For more information on this subject matter, please refer to the section on Car and Motorcycle Accidents.