Earlier this month, a St. Charles County Circuit Court judge handed down a sentence in a drunk driving case involving a 26-year-old man who was involved in a chain-reaction car crash last summer that resulted in the death of a popular five-term St. Louis alderman.
According to court records, the young man was driving eastbound on Highway 370 at around 12:30 a.m. back on August 1, 2012, when he was involved in a minor fender bender with a passing big rig.
Unlike the truck he hit, which had pulled over to the side of the highway to inspect the damage, the young man stopped in the middle of the highway to survey the condition of his pickup truck.
Shortly thereafter, another semi truck heading in the same direction on Highway 370 saw the pickup in the middle of the road and stopped to offer assistance and warn the young man to get out of the road. During this time, yet another truck arrived at the scene, parking directly behind the first stopped truck.
Unfortunately, the city alderman — who had been a delivery driver for over 25 years — was driving down the same stretch of Highway 370 as part of his route, but failed to see the stopped semi trucks in the middle lane.A chain-reaction crash ensued and the alderman suffered what proved to be fatal injuries.
In the aftermath of the crash, the young man was charged with misdemeanor DWI and pleaded guilty to this charge just a few weeks ago in St. Charles County Circuit Court. Here, the presiding judge handed him a six-month suspended jail sentence and two years probation. He was also ordered to install an ignition interlock device on his vehicle, complete an alcohol treatment program, and abstain from purchasing, possessing and consuming alcohol.
While many people have questioned why the young man was not charged with involuntary manslaughter, the county prosecutor later indicated that their simply wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove that the young man acted with criminal recklessness and that it’s highly possible the alderman was not paying attention at the time of the wreck.
“There was another driver that was in the exact same lane and facing the exact same traffic conditions who was able to stop and do it safely,” he said.
If you have been arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced attorney who will explain your options, and fight to protect your future and your freedom.
Source: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Driver pleads guilty of DWI in crash that killed St. Louis Alderman,” Kim Bell, September 16, 2013