Living in Charleston, Charleston personal injury attorneys are no strangers to bicycle accidents and would like to take a moment to share the following incident and subsequent case to remind drivers and cyclists alike to give due attention to each other when traveling along area roadways.
Back in June, a 48-year-old cyclist was hit by a drunk driver traveling 69 miles per hour when a horrific collision occurred, shattering the cyclist’s leg, sending his head snapping back onto the A-bar of the driver’s Chevy Tahoe, and ultimately rocketing the cyclist 100 feet through the air, slamming into a roadside fence with serious brain injuries. The driver had a blood alcohol level of .19, nearly three times the legal limit.
Last month, the 34-year-old drunk driver, who had two previous DUIs on his record, was sentenced by Montgomery County, Maryland Circuit Court Judge to 8 years in jail and 5 years of unsupervised probation. According to WTOP, the sentence came after hours of testimony from the friends and family members of both men. After his second DUI offense in 2004 the driver was ordered to complete a 26 week program, it can easily be said the program did nothing to help change his dangerous behavior.
The deceased man displayed qualities of a responsible and experienced cyclist, he was wearing a helmet and dressed in reflective gear at the time of the drunk driving accident. Despite these thoughtful and safety minded precautions, there is little a cyclist can do to prevent fatal harm when hit by an SUV traveling 69 miles per hour and operated by an inebriated driver.
After sentencing and the manslaughter by motor vehicle plea was over, the Circuit Court Judge ended the proceeding by reminding the drunk driver he had many earlier chances and concluded with these poignant remarks, “You have to be punished. We can get new bicycles, we can replace fenders. We cannot restore lives.”