On February 11th, a woman received the maximum sentence allowed for a drunk driving accident that killed local Ohio lawyer, Annie Rooney. Drunk at the time and with high levels of marijuana in her system, the driver left a bar last July and ran three stoplights before eventually crossing Rt. 50 at upwards of 80 mph and colliding with Ms. Rooney’s vehicle. Video evidence obtained from the bar shows the woman in an extremely inebriated condition before she stumbled from the scene and drove away.
The drunk driver testified at the hearing and said she would never be able to forgive herself for Rooney’s death, but this gave little solace to the victim’s family. Apparently, the woman responsible for the accident had already accumulated 24 misdemeanor charges since 1997. She had also received three drunken driving charges filed through Chillicothe Municipal Court and one 1997 charge in Athens County. She had also temporarily lost her license on three separate occasions.
Unfortunately, all of these previous charges were reduced, leaving one to wonder what might have happened if the driver in this particular accident had not escaped justice so many times in the past. In this case, the drunk driver finally met with justice when she received an eight-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to a second-degree felony of aggravated vehicular homicide.
Ohio car accidents involving alcohol and other controlled substances represent only a fraction of the problem plaguing American roadways. While a lawsuit might help grieving families struggling in the wake of a drunk driving accident receive compensation for medical expenses and pain and suffering, it cannot make the problem go away completely. However, seeking justice through the court system with help from an experienced attorney who knows how to work for his clients remains one of the most effective ways to keep drunk drivers off the road.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch, “Woman gets maximum sentence in fatal drunken-driving death” Holly Zachariah, Feb. 12, 2014