Mar

22

DUI Driver Who Killed Google Engineer Given Long Prison Sentence

By Mike

A 57-year-old Washington resident who was driving “drunk and angry” when he killed a man during a DUI car crash was recently sentenced to four years in prison for committing vehicular homicide, according to a report from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The accident occurred last July, when Patrick Stevan Rexroat lost his control and crashed his car while trying to chase down another car in an apparent episode of wild road rage.

After he lost control of his Hyundai Santa Fe SUV, Rexroat slammed into a car traveling in the opposite direction. The impact of the collision killed Stephen Lacey, a father of two who worked as an engineer for Google.

Sources indicate that Lacey was returning home after a shopping trip to Costco when Rexroat slammed into his vehicle.

Tragically, the accident was apparently caused by a senseless act of road rage. After the accident, Rexroat reportedly told a responding officer that he had been cut off by another driver while on Interstate 405 and that he had chased the offending driver off an exit ramp into an arterial road.

In February, after recognizing the potential costs of a trial, Rexroat pleaded guilty to charges of vehicular homicide and reckless driving. At his sentencing this week, King County prosecutors recommended the maximum jail term for the wayward driver.

Superior Court Judge Susan Armstrong agreed with this assessment, and sentenced Rexroat to the maximum possible sentence of four years in prison.

In her sentencing decision, Judge Armstrong may have been swayed by witness testimony that claimd Rexroat started beating on his chest as he was standing on the side of the road after the crash.

Even more disturbingly, one witness told police investigators that Rexroat allegedly responded to the news that the other driver was dead by simply saying, “eh.”

Because of these actions, the prosecutor said Rexroat had a “flagrant disregard for the value of human life.”

Though this may not be true, it cannot be argued that Rexroat showed a blatant disregard for DUI laws and the health of his liver.

Sources indicate that, at the time of his arrest, Rexroat had a blood alcohol level of .29, which is more than three times the legal limit of .08.

In the words of King County Prosecutor Don Satterberg, “[t]he tragic death of Steve Lacey was not an accident. It was the predictable result of aggressive driving under extreme intoxication.” Rexroat will now suffer the consequences of this aggressive driving for several years.

Feb

17

Illegal Immigrant Charged with Felony DUI After Killing Nun in Crash

By Mike

In a tragic scene that seems pulled from a bad Lifetime movie, a young illegal immigrant has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after committing a felony DUI that led to the death of a Catholic nun and severely injured two others.

Late last week, 24-year-old Carlos A. Martinelly-Montano was sentenced to 20 years in prison for a drunk driving accident that occurred in August 2010, according to the Washington Post. The sentencing took place at the Prince William County Courthouse in Mannassas, Virginia.

Sources indicate that Martinelly-Montano had already been convicted of felony murder charges during a trial in October, and had been awaiting news of his sentence for several months.

According to the police report, Martinelly-Montano was driving drunk when he steered his Subaru into a guardrail and then swerved into the opposite lane on a narrow, two-lane stretch of road in Bristow, Virginia.

When he veered into the wrong lane, he struck a blue Toyota Corolla that belonged to three nuns who were members of the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia. The nuns were traveling from Richmond to Bristow for an annual retreat.

The tragic accident led to the death of Sister Denise Mosier. In addition, Sisters Charlotte Lange and Connie Ruth Lipton, both of whom are in their 70s, were badly injured in the wreck.

The high-profile case drew attention not only for the tragic identity of its victims, but also the legal history of the perpetrator.

According to sources, Martinelly-Montano, who was originally from Bolivia, had previously been arrested twice for other drunk driving charges. In addition, before the fatal accident, federal authorities had scheduled a deportation hearing with Martinelly-Montano.

Alas, Martinelly-Montano was not deported, although he claims that his time in jail and the death he caused have led him to “dedicate himself to God.” This journey towards a new faith may have been aided by the injured nuns, who apparently have shown him forgiveness.

Despite this forgiveness, though, Martinelly-Montano must deal with the legal consequences of his actions. At trial, he pled guilty to five different charges, including involuntary manslaughter, driving on a revoked license, getting a third DUI offense in five years, and two counts of maiming while driving under the influence.

All told, the charges carry a maximum sentence of 70 years in prison, which has led some critics to suggest that the judge’s sentence of 20 years was too lenient for Martinally-Montano.

Feb

13

Pardoned DUI Convict May Have Caused Fatal Accident After Release

By Mike

Haley Barbour, the former governor of Mississippi, raised many eyebrows after he pardoned more than 200 convicted felons in his home state when he left office. One of these pardons has already come back to haunt him.

In January, Barbour pardoned Harry Bostisk, who was a convicted DUI felon residing in a jail in Oxford, Mississippi, according to a report this week from CNN.com.

Bostick was in a jail cell awaiting charges from a drunk driving accident involving the death of 18-year-old Charity Smith. Fault for the accident has yet to be determined, but Bostick’s presence in jail wasn’t only related to the fatal accident.

Sources indicate that Bostick was initially thrown into jail for violating the terms of his probation that had been a result of a previous DUI sentence. In fact, Bostick appears to have a long record of drunk driving problems and subsequent good fortune with the police and court system in Mississippi.

According to CNN, Bostick was arrested for a felony drunk driving offense in March 2009. That incident was Bostick’s third arrest for drunk driving in a little more than a year, which is a staggeringly high rate of DUI arrests.

After his third DUI arrest, Bostick was eventually sentenced in March 2010 to a year of house arrest and four years in an alcohol treatment program, which had strict guidelines for repeat offenders.

During the beginning stages of this program, which occurred through the state’s drug court, Bostick began lobbying the governor for a pardon. Bostick had several high-profile friends send letters to the governor, claiming that Bostick’s behavior could be explained by a recent divorce with his wife and the recent death of his son in a freak house fire.

These letters, apparently, had an effect on the governor, as he eventually pardoned Bostick after receiving advice from the Mississippi Parole Board, which recommended a pardon by a vote of 3-2.

And, according to sources, one week after Bostick allegedly caused the fatal accident that resulted in the death of 18-year-old Charity Smith, he was unceremoniously released from jail.

State officials claim that Bostick had been pardoned before the accident, and that they did not realize he had caused the fatal accident when they released him from jail.

Of course, while charges have not officially been filed, the case is already a nightmare for the Mississippi Parole Board and Haley Barbour. Critics of the former governor were already claiming that he had abused his pardon privileges, and this incident simply adds fuel to their arguments.

Mar

18

Teens and DUI Arrests: Serious Penalties for Everyone Involved

By Topher

There is a troubling variety of stories in the news about teens and drunk driving. Across the country teens find themselves arrested for DUI. Some of the worst cases involve serious injury or death while behind the wheel and impaired.

In Kennewick, Washington, for example, a 15-year-old was driving a stolen 1999 Oldsmobile when a Washington State Patrol officer attempted to stop him, according to the Tri-City Herald.

The teen fled in the car, and before police could stop him he struck a building. He was not hurt in the incident, though his 16-year-old passenger was taken to the hospital. The teen was charged with vehicular assault, driving under the influence and eluding police.

In Defuniak Springs, Florida, a teen from recently pleaded no contest to DUI manslaughter following a collision that killed a friend of hers last year.

The Associated Press is reporting that Elyse Tirico was 16-years-old when she crashed her car. Her defense team is asking that she be sentenced as a juvenile. If she is, Tirico could face a sentence ranging from probation to six years in prison. If she were tried as an adult, she could face ten years in prison.

Tirico’s accident happened after she left a party with two friends in her car. According to authorities, she ran a stop sign and crashed her car into a tree. Her blood-alcohol level was tested and determined to be 0.102 percent, well above the legal limit.

In San Diego, a teenager was arrested on suspicion of DUI recently, after allegedly running a red light and crashing into a car, injuring a woman in the other car. Police had to break the window out of the 51-year-old driver’s car to get her out of it, according to 10News. Police said that the teen, Julian Tavasci, appeared intoxicated and was arrested.

These are just a few recent examples of the serious consequences for underage DUI. Many states have special DUI laws for minors arrested for drunk driving that may carry harsh penalties. Unfortunately for many of these teens, a life lesson comes too late when the consequences are fatal.

Apr

8

Smoking Bans = More DUI Accidents? Study Says “Yes So”

By Mary Ann

Smoking bans in bars and restaurants have seemed to be a vogue way to make such establishments more appealing and healthy places to people who may be turned off by such “vices.”

With that said, a recent study indicates that smoking bans are producing a surprising and unintended effect: a rise in fatal DUI crashes.

Don’t see the connection? Check out the article below to get a better understanding of this relationship:

Smoking Bans Contribute to Rise in Fatal DUI Crashes, Study Finds.