Judge John Hatcher in Fayetteville, West Virginia gave the harshest sentence possible under state law on Dec. 28 to a young woman who was driving under the influence of drugs when she killed a married couple on June 18, 2015 near Glen Jean, West Virginia.
The 23 year old woman from Meadow Bridge was given a prison sentence of 15 years for driving under the influence of a controlled substance causing death. However, the family of the deceased couple was upset because the sentence could not be harsher.
The victims’ son stated that while the young woman would eventually get out of prison, he had received a life sentence without his parents.
The judge in the case noted during sentencing that while her attorney said that she has changed and cleaned herself up, she still had a substance abuse problem. He said that she still had not learned from her deadly actions because she still had drugs in her system during the week of sentencing, and her two children are still not in her custody. One of her children was born addicted to drugs. She also is 14 weeks pregnant with another child and is still on drugs.
On June 8, 2015, the woman was driving her Chevrolet Silverado on WV 16 near Glen Jean when she crossed the center line and slammed into the red SUV driven by the deceased couple.
Despite all of the tougher drunk driving laws and stricter enforcement across the country, there are still far too many drunk driving accidents. From 2003 to 2012, there were 1092 people killed by drunk drivers in West Virginia. The rate of death for drivers by DUI in West Virginia per 100,000 people is 5.6, which is well above the average of 3.3 across the country.
Across the US, there were 10,265 people killed by drunk drivers in 2015, which was a 300% increase over the year before. The CDC reports that almost 30 people are killed by drunk or drugged drivers ever day. And there are 170,000 more injured each year.
For the injured parties, if they survive, the cost of the typical injury from a drunk driving accident is $99,000, with a quality of life loss at $50,000 and actual costs at $49,000. If you are injured by a drunk driver and have suffered a financial and quality of life loss, you may want to talk to an attorney to determine if you can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover financial damages.