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.
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.
Maine’s drunk driving laws prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from consuming alcohol and then getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. Drivers who are 21 or older may be found impaired and in violation of the law if their blood-alcohol level is 0.08 or beyond.
Any proven violation of traffic laws in these cases can help to bolster the claim for civil damages. However, this action is totally separate from the criminal proceeding. That’s why victims in these cases – including survivors of those deceased – need to contact an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer as soon as possible after the crash.
Even in a case such as this, where a driver is young and probably doesn’t have a wealth of assets, there may be avenues for collection of damages.
Our attorneys would start by exploring the existing insurance policy, either on the driver or vehicle or both. Maine statutes require some of the highest minimum coverage amounts in the nation. Drivers are required to carry a minimum of:
- $50,000 for injury or death of a single person
- $100,000 total for a single accident
- $25,000 for property damage
- $1,000 for medical payments
A single combined policy of $125,000 in coverage is also acceptable.
If the driver is not insured, we would look at victim or decedent’s coverage under uninsured motorist policies.
Beyond that, we would analyze whether Maine dram shop laws are applicable in the case. Maine Revised Statute, Title 28-A, Chapter 100, also known as the “Maine Liquor Liability Act,” allows vendors licensed to serve alcohol to be held liable for damages in a DUI case if they provided alcohol to a driver who was a minor under age 21 or an adult who was visibly intoxicated.
The details of this case are still pending further investigation, but it does appear the defendant driver had a valid driver’s license, and presumably had insurance as well. We would want to determine where the driver had been drinking prior to the accident, and whether any alcohol service establishments may have been negligent in serving him booze.
If you are the victim of a Bangor car accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Driver in fatal Hermon crash indicted on manslaughter charge, Sept. 30, 2015, by Judy Harrison, Bangor Daily News
More Blog Entries:
Maine Truck Accident Kills Man Overlooking Frenchman Bay, Sept. 25, 2015, Bangor DUI Injury Attorney Blog