When a Virginia resident gets behind the wheel after knowingly consuming too much alcohol, the worst possible outcome in his or her mind is usually the fear of being cited for driving while intoxicated. Unhappily, many worse consequences may often follow, and some can include a significant period of incarceration. The recent example of an accident in the Cave Spring area demonstrates the disastrous consequences of failing to comprehend both the biological and legal effect of alcohol.
The suspect in this case was arrested in October after he had been involved in a multiple-vehicle crash in mid-September. The collision was triggered when the suspect drove his white Volvo into the rear end of a Toyota Sienna. The Toyota was pushed off the road and collided with a utility pole. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
The suspect continued to operate his vehicle, and he hit a Cadillac, pushing it into a pickup truck. The driver of the Cadillac was examined at a nearby hospital and released. The driver of the pickup was apparently uninjured. The driver of the Volvo was hospitalized for treatment of non-life threatening injuries and later released. One witness said that he saw a white car traveling in the wrong lane at a speed he estimated to be 60 to 70 mph. The suspect was arrested in October and charged with involuntary manslaughter. He was being held without bail.
The defendant then was indicted a second time by a grand jury in December on a charge of aggravated involuntary manslaughter. The earlier charge was dismissed when the indictment was returned. The grand jury also indicted the suspect for two felony hit and run charges and a single charge of driving under the influence of alcohol. The defendant is now awaiting trial that will most likely occur in June. Additional evidence was cited as the basis for the more serious charges, but the evidence was not described.
The man who perished in the accident was employed as an engineer by a local utility company. Under Virginia law, his family has a civil claim against the suspect for wrongful death. The claim may include lost future financial support and lost care and comfort.
The outcome of this case is not easy to predict, but the defendant, or anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation, may benefit from consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney. Based upon news reports, the evidence of guilt in this case appears to be convincing, but more investigation may unearth exculpatory evidence. Moreover, the defendant is entitled to be presumed innocent unless and until he is convicted by evidence that proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A capable lawyer can begin with this presumption, evaluate the evidence, suggest various defense strategies and, if appropriate, assist in negotiating a favorable plea agreement.