Articles Posted in Drunk Driving Accidents

For many, getting into the holiday spirit involves downing holiday spirits. Although most can responsibly enjoy the indulgence, it’s problematic when those who imbibe get behind the wheeldrunk driving accident lawyer

Last year, nearly 800 Americans died in drunk driving crashes just in December alone last year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports nearly one-third of the 37,500 people killed in car accidents in 2016 were involved in crashes were at least one driver had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher.

In Maine, there were almost 500 deaths caused by drunk drivers over a recent nine-year stretch. Approximately 1.2 percent of Maine drivers surveyed admitted to driving while too impaired to do so at least once in the last 30 days. The actual number is likely much higher, as these are only self-admitted cases. The Press Herald in Portland reported earlier this year that more than 16,000 drivers in Maine have had four or more OUI convictions since 1980. More than 80,000 drivers in Maine have more than one OUI conviction. Many of these instances happen around the holidays, when people are more likely to be attending parties and gatherings where alcohol is served. Having a plan for transportation before the festivities is the best way to avoid causing a drunk driving accident. Continue reading

The widow of a man killed when he was struck by a drunk driver in Maine on New Year’s Day is suing both the driver and the nightclub that served her alcohol earlier in the night. drinking

The 30-year-old defendant driver, who was allegedly drunk, had reportedly been consuming alcohol at the Sapphire Nightclub and Event Center in Auburn, ME on New Year’s Eve, 2016. When the defendant driver left the nightclub after 1 a.m., there was snow on the ground, reducing visibility and traction. Her vehicle slammed into the rear of a parked vehicle, out of which the decedent was in the process of exiting. As a result of the impact, the 41-year-old decedent suffered spinal fractures, numerous broken ribs, and a ruptured aortic arch. His injuries proved fatal, though his widow describes him as enduring conscious pain and suffering before he died.

According to the SunJournal.com, the plaintiff alleges the nightclub served the defendant driver numerous alcoholic beverages on the night in question, allowing her to become highly intoxicated and not fit to safely operate a motor vehicle.

A young man in Maine has been indicted on a manslaughter charge following a Maine drunk driving accident that killed one and left another seriously injured. Although civil liability has not been raised at this juncture, our drunk driving accident lawyers know it could well be an issue in the future, given the facts we know so far. beer glass

Many actions for which one might be deemed liable in a civil case are also violations of criminal statutes. While some criminal courts will impose orders of restitution on convicted offenders to be paid to the victim(s), this is separate and apart from civil liability, which should be explored in cases involving serious injuries. For one thing, restitution orders often do not take into account more than medical expenses. Civil liability, meanwhile, will weigh such elements as lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium. That means one stands to obtain far more compensation in a civil case. This is also true, particularly in drunk driving accident cases, since there is the possibility of third-party liability under Maine’s Liquor Liability Act. Under this provision, one can be sued for up to $250,000, plus medical expenses, for reckless or negligent conduct in serving liquor to a person who is intoxicated or a minor if the defendant disregards the obvious and substantial risk that serving liquor to that person might cause to the drinker or others.

In this case, according to CentralMaine.com, three young men were drinking together at a local restaurant. The defendant driver was reportedly “the most sober” of the trio, so he was designated as the driver that night. He reportedly skidded 300 feet before careening off the road into the opposite travel lane and striking a tree and then a telephone pole. All three occupants were ejected from the vehicle. One of the passengers died, and the other suffered severe injuries.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in Maine, since it jeopardizes the safety and well-being of everyone on the road. It is true that the number of alcohol-fueled crashes has slid slightly in recent years, while the number of drug-related accidents has spiked, driven largely by the rising use of illicit and prescription opioids and the increasing availability of legal marijuana.drugs

Still, as Maine Public Radio reports, people shouldn’t think this means alcohol use is no longer a serious issue on our roads.

Recently, the Governors Highway Safety Association released a report on the issue of drug-impaired driving. Drawing from the most recent 2015 data of the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the GHSA revealed drugs were present in 43 percent of all fatally injured drivers with known test results (which were 57 percent of the total). Meanwhile, alcohol was present in 37 percent of those cases. A roadside survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2014 found 22 percent of motorists on weekend nights and days were under the influence of drugs, most often marijuana. In solely looking at the headlines, one might think drugs are responsible for more traffic fatalities than alcohol. That’s actually not what the report says.

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Police in Waterville issued dozens of court summonses for underage drinking after responding to a call of a late-night party off-campus where people were smashing beer bottles in the street. Authorities got there around 1 a.m. and discovered two men on the street who conceded they had been drinking, even though they were under the age of 21. They pointed officers to the home where they had consumed the alcohol. beer

When officers went to the home, they discovered the renters, six college students, had thrown a party that reportedly involved lots of underage drinking. Three of the renters, all 21, were charged with the Class D misdemeanor of allowing minors to drink alcohol, according to CentralMaine.com. Each is facing a fine of a mandatory $1,000 fine if any of the drinkers was under 18. Meanwhile, dozens of other youths were charged with the civil violation of underage drinking and face fines of between $200 and $400 for a first-time offense.

Although this incident did not lead to any underage drinking and driving, it’s not a stretch to think that one of those teens was planning to get behind the wheel of a car that night. Perhaps the police intervention thwarted that. But if they had gotten into a car and if they had been in an accident that caused someone else injuries, who would be liable?

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Drunk driving in Maine causes more wrongful deaths than any type of violent crime. In 2014, law enforcement officials reported 25 people died by homicide, while 50 died in drunk driving accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s double. Impaired driving accounts for more than a third of all motor vehicle fatalities in this state. What’s more, the problem appears to be getting worse. The number of operating under the influence deaths in Maine spiked from 44 to 50 in a single year – an increase of nearly 14 percent. Many hundreds more are injured.beers

We saw it once again in the community of Strong, about 1.5 hours from Bangor. According to the Kennebec Journal, police are reporting a fiery, head-on collision that killed one driver, injured two passengers, and sent another motorist to a Farmington jail on an OUI charge – a class B felony for operating under the influence resulting in death.

The collision was reported at around 7:45 p.m. on a recent Tuesday, when authorities received a call about a traffic accident and possible entrapment on Lambert Hill Road. Authorities arrived to discover two pickup trucks that had collided head-on and were both in flames. The allegedly drunk driver, 24, managed to escape his vehicle, as did his two passengers, although they were injured. However, the driver and sole occupant of the other truck was not able to get out. Fire officials were only able to retrieve his body once they had extinguished the flames.

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Drunk driving in Maine is a serious problem that claims innocent lives year after year. A number of initiatives have been taken in recent years with the goal of reducing these tragedies, including tougher penalties on impaired drivers. bud

But much of this focus has glossed over drug-impaired driving, which has become a growing threat as we are realizing a heroin epidemic and are considering the legalization of recreational marijuana.

This issue was raised recently at a Portland summit that involved police, prosecutors, traffic safety experts and others – many of whom argued that greater education is going to be essential.  Continue reading

Drunk driving accidents and the devastating injuries and deaths they cause are 100 percent preventable. gravelroad1

Maine legislators believe this as well, which is why criminal penalties for causing an accident while drunk are severe – especially if someone is seriously hurt or killed. Maine Revised Statute 29-A, Section 2411 spells out  penalties for OUI offenses, aggravating factors and penalties. Generally, if you are in an accident that results in a major injury or death, you will be facing a felony and a long-term license suspension.

But how does that help the victims, whose lives have been irreparably affected? Other than ensuring the at-fault driver is off the road, it really doesn’t. The only way to recover damages is to pursue a claim for damages against the driver (and by proxy his insurance company). If the driver doesn’t have insurance or the coverage is paltry, victims may recover through their own uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage policy. Continue reading

The 23-year-old man was allegedly driving so drunk, his blood-alcohol level was 0.21 – nearly three times the legal limit for a driver of legal drinking age – when he crashed his vehicle, killing one of his passengers and critically injuring another.booze

That crash occurred on Annis Road in Bangor in June. Now, the driver has been indicted on charges of manslaughter and aggravated operating under the influence.

The decedent was a 20-year-old from Hermon. Another 20-year-old, a female also from Hermon, was seriously injured in the single-vehicle crash, as was defendant driver. At defendant’s first court appearance in late July, defendant’s bail was set at $20,000 cash. He was released later that day after that bail was posted. Now, he faces up to 40 years in prison on all charges, plus fines of up to $70,000. He may also lose his license for six years. The terms and conditions of the bail require he have no contact with any of the witnesses or victims, and he’s also not allowed to consume alcohol or drugs for which he does not have a prescription. He must undergo drug testing and abide by an 8 p.m. curfew.

However, none of that brings back the life of the man lost. None of that helps the surviving victim recover from her injuries. Continue reading

Impaired drivers in Maine have been wreaking havoc on our roads, causing property damage, serious injury and the loss of innocent victims.anger

  • In Lincolnville, a 31-year-old crossed the center line and struck an oncoming vehicle, driven by a 58-year-old woman. The man was ejected from his vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene, while the woman was rushed to the hospital with injuries. Police suspect the younger driver was speeding and drunk.
  • In Litchfield, a woman was arrested for her fourth DUI after she crashed her vehicle with her son inside. Authorities say her 4-year-old son was inside when she careened into a cluster of trees. Emergency workers had to use a chainsaw to free them. She has 13 prior license suspensions on her record.

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