When residents of Virginia elect to drive after consuming too many alcoholic beverages, they worry only about being arrested for drunk driving. They rarely consider the more serious consequences of drunk driving, such as losing control of the vehicle and causing death or serious injury to other people. In a recent case from southern Virginia, a man allegedly failed to make this calculation, and his niece was killed as a consequence.
The defendant in the case was driving a pickup truck on Traynham Grove Road in Halifax County with his niece as the only passenger. According to police, at about 8:00 p.m., the man lost control of his pickup, and it swerved into the opposite lane. The driver then attempted to re-enter the highway, but he overcorrected. The truck re-crossed the highway and ran off the right side of the road. It crashed into a tree and stopped.
When police arrived, the female passenger was dead. The driver suffered only a superficial injury. Both the driver and passenger were wearing seatbelts. Police arrested the driver on a charge of DUI manslaughter. No information was released about whether or how police measured the man's blood alcohol content before arresting him.
The defendant in this case is facing serious criminal charges that could entail jail time, a loss or limitation of driving privileges and a significant fine. Like any defendant, he is entitled to be presumed innocent unless and until he is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Nevertheless, anyone in similar circumstances may benefit from consulting an experienced criminal defense lawyer for an evaluation of the evidence and an estimate of the likelihood of negotiating a favorable plea agreement.