Articles Posted in Drunk Driving

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a car accident case in which the plaintiff’s vehicle was struck by a drunk driver. The case required the court to determine if the defendant’s prior convictions for driving under the influence could be admitted at trial. Ultimately, the court concluded that the prior convictions were relevant to the punitive damages determination and thus should be admitted for that limited purpose.

HandcuffedThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was driving to work on the highway when suddenly, the defendant’s vehicle crossed over into the plaintiff’s lane of traffic. The two vehicles collided head-on. It was later determined that the defendant had a blood-alcohol content of .18, which is over twice the legal limit.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant. During the plaintiff’s case, he attempted to introduce evidence that the defendant had been convicted of driving under the influence on two prior occasions, once in 1996 and another time in 1983. The court allowed the evidence to be admitted over the defendant’s objection. Ultimately, the jury awarded the plaintiff over $1,500,000.

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Late last month on Halloween, two vehicles collided head-on in Glen Burnie, killing both drivers. According to one local news source, the accident occurred on Solley Road near where it meets Chestnut Springs Lane. The fatal accident claimed the lives of both drivers, and the three passengers involved in the accident were also seriously injured.

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Evidently, three teenage friends were driving in a Nissan on Solley Road, heading to a Halloween party. At some point, another Nissan approaching in the opposite direction inexplicably crossed over the center line and collided with the Nissan carrying the three teens. After the initial collision, the vehicle that crossed over the center line flipped on its roof and continued to slide down the highway until it collided with a third vehicle.

In the end, both drivers of the Nissan vehicles were dead. Two teenage passengers in one of the vehicles, as well as the woman’s husband in the other Nissan, were all taken to the hospital. Since the accident, all of the injured parties have been released from the hospital.

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Earlier this month in Prince George’s County, a head-on collision claimed the life of one man and seriously injured two others. According to one local news report, the accident took place on a Saturday afternoon on Maryland Route 231.

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Evidently, the driver of a pick-up truck was driving on Route 231 when he inexplicably veered over the center median and into oncoming traffic. As he did so, the truck he was controlling crashed into another vehicle head-on. The truck was only occupied by its driver, but the other vehicle had two people inside.

The driver of that other vehicle, a 59-year-old man from Chesapeake Beach, was fatally injured in the accident and was pronounced dead on the scene by emergency responders. The passenger in the other vehicle, as well as the driver of the pick-up truck, were both taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Both, however, are expected to make a full recovery.

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Earlier this week in Cambridge, Maryland, several people were injured when a pick-up truck towing two jet skis caused an accident involving roughly 20 other vehicles. According to one local news source, the accident took place on a Monday evening, just before nine o’clock, on Locust Street.

jet-skiing-1388627Evidently, the truck was driving with a trailer in tow when it started colliding with several other cars on the road, both occupied and unoccupied. Eventually, the truck lost control and ended up striking a marked police car head-on. The driver of the truck did sustain serious injuries and was flown to Peninsula Medical Center in Salisbury. The police officer whose car was hit was also taken to the hospital, and he is expected to make a full recovery with time. Those seem to be the only serious injuries.

After police caught up with the truck’s driver, they arrested him. He has since been charged with attempted murder and several other charges relating to the accident. Police are also awaiting toxicology reports to see if drugs or alcohol may have been a factor in what certainly seems to be an odd accident.

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Earlier this month, an article by the local Baltimore CBS affiliate was published, indicating that over one weekend in June there were over 80 DUI or DUI-related arrests across the State of Maryland. According to the article, a large percentage of those DUI arrests involved drivers with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .16 or more, which is twice the legal limit for safe driving in Maryland.

untitled-1108573-mDrunk driving has become such a problem in Maryland that the state police have created a task force, called the State Police Impaired Driving Reduction Effort (SPIDRE) Team. Of the 80 arrests across the State, 13 were made by the SPIDRE team. According to one member of SPIDRE, “Most of the people that we’re coming in contact with now, it’s not the people that get 1 or 2 drinks at dinner, it’s people that this is what they do, this is what they like to do,” referring to driving after consuming several drinks.

In fact, the average blood-alcohol content for a SPIDRE arrest is .17, which is well over the .08 legal limit. According to the CBS article, this is approximately seven or eight drinks for an average-sized man or approximately five drinks for an average-sized woman.

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Recent reports regarding the Maryland police officer who died in a car crash last month revealed that he had alcohol in his system at the time of the accident. A prominent news source has reported that the officer was killed when he was taking his girlfriend to her home in the early hours of the morning.

Evidently, the officer was off duty, but he was attempting to stop a speeding vehicle. He was speeding when he came around a curve in Lanham, Maryland. Unfortunately, he was not able to control his vehicle, and he ended up hitting a wooden fence.

dpd-157593-mInvestigations revealed that the officer had a blood alcohol level of about .07; the legal limit is .08 in Maryland. Additionally, he was driving around 106 mph and slowed to about 65 mph right before the accident. Although the officer was off duty, they believe that he was going to call in a traffic stop because he switched his radio on. Apparently, a new investigation has also made clear that the officer’s girlfriend was in the car with him at the time of the accident. Fortunately, she did not suffer any serious injuries.

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Earlier this month in Baltimore, the most winning Olympian pleaded guilty to driving under the influence. According to a recent report by one local news source, the swimmer was pulled over back in September of this year when he was seen crossing a double yellow line in the Fort McHenry Tunnel.

keys-707275-mThe arresting officer told the court that Phelps’ breath-alcohol content was .14, and that the legal limit in Maryland is .08. Phelps was also going 84 miles per hour in a zone that is designated as 45 miles per hour. This was Phelps’ second DUI offense in the past 10 years.

At sentencing, Phelps was given a jail sentence of 12 months. However, that sentence was suspended in favor of 18 months’ probation. While on probation, Phelps will not be permitted to drink alcohol. He was also ordered to do community service and must go 90 days without driving privileges.

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