In August of 2009, a Raleigh man slowed his Jeep Cherokee to make a left turn. Another car, driven by a 34-year-old Louisburg man, smashed into the Jeep and left. The police caught up with him a short time later and put him under arrest. He was drunk, and now he was facing his third DWI conviction.
Last week, after listening to a week of testimony and argument, a jury handed down a verdict: guilty of second-degree murder, driving while impaired, hit-and-run and serious injury by motor vehicle. He will be in his early 60s before he’s served the 28-year minimum sentence handed down this week. If he serves the maximum 34 ½ years, he’ll be closing in on 70.
Police say they had seen the defendant earlier. He had been in a fight at a bar; they warned him that he shouldn’t drive, but he took off. That decision cost him his freedom and another man’s life.
The DWI convictions were not the only crimes the defendant had committed. Police say he had a number of felony and misdemeanor drug charges, among them felony possession of marijuana and cocaine with intent to distribute.
Before he was sentenced, the defendant told the victim’s family that he had not meant to kill anyone, that he’d done something he couldn’t take it back. His sister, too, apologized to the victim’s mother and extended family.
North Carolina officials reported 394 deaths attributed to alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents last year. And last year there were about 73,000 DWI charges filed in the state.
Resource: WRAL “Drunken Driver Convicted on Murder Charge in Fatal Wreck” 11/22/10