According to statistics, approximately 10,000 individuals are killed each year throughout the country by motorists who drive while intoxicated. These drivers are subsequently charged with various crimes, including DUI as well as involuntary manslaughter. If convicted and sentenced, many of the drivers must serve time behind bars. However, recent investigation has shown that one Missouri county is more lenient toward drunk drivers than others in the state.
One such case involved the death of a man in 2016 in Jackson County. He had taken an Uber home after he had left a party. He had gotten out of the vehicle when he got sick and was struck by a car driven by a 19-year-old woman. The Uber driver was also injured in the incident. The woman had been drinking and was charged with involuntary manslaughter for the man’s death and second-degree assault for the injury to the Uber driver.
The manslaughter charge alone would result in five years in jail, if the woman had been convicted. However, she was released on bond and was spotted drinking at a neighborhood bar while making claims that she wouldn’t serve any time behind bars for the death. The woman made a plea agreement to serve five years of probation for the death, yet had to go to prison for three years for the Uber driver’s injury.
Evidently, other incidents of this type of sentencing have occurred in Jackson County before. Sentences in the county for similar drunk driving accidents ranged from probation to only 120 days in jail. These were the lightest sentences given in the five-county region that includes Jackson County. Many victims’ families have questioned whether justice was served in the deaths of their loved ones.
While families may wonder if appropriate justice was meted in the criminal court system, some may choose to pursue wrongful death litigation against the drunk drivers deemed responsible for their losses. A Missouri personal injury lawyer can assist survivors through every step of the legal process. A respected attorney can work with families to pursue a favorable outcome in a lawsuit that may help offset funeral expenses and provide compensation for their grief and suffering.