Repeat DUI Offender Convicted Of Murder
“Cases that involve the death of children as a result of a drunk driver hitting the vehicle they are in are the hardest to come to grips with,” said Bobby Lee, an Austin personal injury attorney of Lee, Gober & Reyna. “No one who responds to a crash scene wants to see young children hurt or killed. This case was shocking for the force of the impact that reduced a Chevy truck to something the police first thought was a hatchback.”
The driver in this incident was subsequently found guilty of gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence and second-degree murder in the death of a 4-year-old boy. The young boy was asleep in the back of the family’s Chevy truck, which had broken down by the side of the highway. They were waiting for help.
The man driving a Ford F-150 was seen by eyewitnesses swerving out of control and making wild steering corrections, as he traveled down two different highways. Waiting by the side of the highway for help, was the Chevy pickup. The young boy’s father had opened the door of his vehicle to check on his sleeping son. The mother and boy’s sister were standing on the shoulder.
The Ford F-150 crashed into the back of the pickup, propelling the father out of the truck and hitting the rear-end with such brutal force that it drove a mounted toolbox directly into the child’s head. First responders air-lifted the little boy to the nearest trauma center, but they were unable to save him. “Although the father was seriously injured, he did survive. The police determined the man driving the Ford had a blood-alcohol content of .17 and had been drinking heavily after going to a concert. As it turned out, he also had two previous DUI convictions,” Lee added.
At trial, he argued the child had died because the toolbox had been mounted incorrectly and that he was not wearing a seat belt. The prosecutor called the defendant’s actions criminal, as he well knew the dangers of drinking and driving, but chose to drink and drive again, despite his two prior convictions.
The jury convicted him. He faces a sentence of 21 years to life in prison for the death of the 4-year-old child. Although the man will spend time in jail, it will not bring the family’s young son back. They may wish to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit in addition to the criminal case.
“Would the family likely succeed in court on a wrongful death lawsuit? Yes. Negligence in this case is quite clear. The man chose to drink and drive, knowing full well that it was against the law and that he already had two prior convictions for DUI. His choice to drink and drive killed a young boy and tore apart a family waiting for help,” Lee pointed out.
Lee, Gober and Reyna
11940 Jollyville Road, Suite 220-S
Austin, Texas 78759
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