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Swerve to Avoid Accident Cases

According to common sense, one need not actually strike another person or vehicle in order to be "involved" in an accident. People v. Mumaugh, 644 P.2d 299, 301 (Colo. 1982) (construing provisions of Colorado's penal code that are substantially identical to the statutory provisions at issue in this case).

Cf. People v. Bammes, 265 Cal. App. 2d 626, 71 Cal. Rptr. 415 (1968)(a defendant was "involved" in an accident when she pulled into the path of a station wagon, causing the station wagon to swerve and be struck by a truck);

Baker v. Fletcher, 191 Misc. 40, 79 N.Y.S.2d 580 (1948)(a defendant was "involved" in an accident when he opened the door of his car, causing another vehicle to swerve and collide with a third vehicle);

State v. Petersen, 17 Ore. App. 478, 522 P.2d 912 (Or. Ct. App. 1974), reversed in part on other grounds, 270 Ore. 166, 526 P.2d 1008 (Or. 1974)(a defendant was "involved in an accident" when the defendant's and the decedent's vehicles were engaged in a drag race, and the decedent's vehicle collided with a third vehicle).

That having been said, we acknowledge that a court "'should not lift one word or clause from a statute and construe it alone without reference to the balance of the statute . . . '" Neff v. Cherokee Insurance Company, 704 S.W.2d 1, 7 (Tenn. 1986).