One bad decision leading to one bad act should not necessarily define a person, but when that decision and action leads to a drunk driving accident that results in an innocent person dying, it is a defining moment for many people. Such accidents occur all too often on the streets of Denver.
One of them happened on the night of May 14, 2011. According to authorities, a young 28-year-old woman was driving the wrong way on Interstate 25 when she drove her car head-on into another vehicle carrying a 31-year-old mother who was heading home from a family birthday party. Two hours after the wreck, the surviving driver's blood alcohol level registered 0.219 percent, more than double the legal limit under Colorado law.
The young woman responsible for this tragedy was convicted of vehicular homicide involving drunken driving and recently came up for sentencing. During that process, tearful family members of the dead victim, including her 13-year-old daughter, made emotional pleas for justice and recounted how their loved one's life had been dedicated to the well-being of her child.
On the other side, the defendant's family pleaded for leniency, pointing to her charitable work on behalf of children in the Dominican Republic. They asked the judge for mercy so that the woman could teach others the dangers of drunk driving.
In the end, the judge gave the woman a term of 10 years in prison and five years of parole to follow. The sentence is two years less than the maximum allowed.
The dead woman's mother says justice has been served. But that is on the criminal level. On the civil level, there are still options for pursuing damages for the loss of this life and the suffering the family has endured.
Anyone faced with a similar situation should be sure that they have explored all their rights to be sure they achieve the greatest sense of closure around such a case.
Source: The Denver Post, "Wrong-way DUI driver gets 10 years for killing young Denver mom," Jessica Fender, Aug. 16, 2012
- Our firm handles situations similar to that described in this post. Readers can get more information about our practice by visiting our Colorado auto, motorcycle and SUV accident page.