On Friday, January 9, 2009, no one cried as hard as one man while he listened to relatives of a man he killed while driving-drunk (DUI), with two previous DUI convictions and another pending from 2006. (The original article was written for the Contra Costa Times)
In August 2008, a jury had convicted him of murder in the death of one Yuba City man. At a court hearing this past Friday, the individual heard his sentence: 15 years to life in prison.
Our San Diego car accident lawyers know from experience that there is a lot of pain and suffering for the family and friends of loved ones who were killed by drunk drivers, such as in this case. What is a really tragedy is that the driver, like all of us, knew that his DUI accidents were preventable.
“The fact is, he had so many chances,” said one woman who testified. “My brother should not have died for him to get sober — that shouldn’t have been his wake-up call.”
On Nov. 7, 2006, the driver, 37, was driving under the influence with a .31 blood alcohol level — nearly four times the legal limit — when he collided with another car.
The prosecutor said that weeks before the death, the driver was warned by a judge that if he were to drive drunk again and cause a wrongful death, he could be charged with murder.
On that fateful day in 2006, the two were driving home from a Rolling Stones concert when their compact car was struck by the alleged drunk driver’s SUV. At the time, the alleged drunk driver was already on probation for his second drunk-driving conviction at the time and driving a car with a suspended license.
The crash threw one passenger from the car, and his sister climbed over the alleged drunk driver’s SUV to find her brother, who was bleeding from the head. The sister said she kissed him on the check and told him she loved him before being taken away by police.
The family members sobbed as they remembered their loved one’s gregarious spirit, and how he would never know the granddaughter who — although only 3 weeks old when he died — was already the center of his world. The San Diego car accident lawyers from our firm have handled cases where the relatives of loved ones lost in car accidents shed endless tears, and nothing can soothe their grief sufficiently.
The alleged drunk driver wept throughout the sentencing, as his relatives described as him a wonderful husband and father to three boys, ages 3, 6 and 18. They said alcohol had destroyed his life, and that he never meant to hurt anyone.
“It’s a hard burden to bear to have him taken away from our family,” said his eldest son. “I’ll miss our time together.”
The driver, who was out of custody on bail before the trial, said he gave up alcohol after the car accident and intends to devote the rest of his life to working against drunk-driving. He said he often wonders why he did not perish in the accident himself, since the pain he caused to the other family — and his own — has become unbearable.
If you were injured and believe that you deserve compensation, then call our bilingual law offices right away at 1-858-551-2090 or click here for a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer and find out how we can help you. We look forward to providing good advice for your case. There is no fee if no recovery.
SENIOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY & FIRM FOUNDER
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines