While all fatal car accidents are tragic, those that involve drunk driving are often particularly disturbing. This is because drunk driving accidents are so easily preventable. Montana residents know drunk driving is extremely hazardous. There is no denying it. However, a number of people continue to make the terribly reckless decision to drive while intoxicated, despite the warnings, putting their own lives and the lives of others at risk.
Many Bozeman residents may remember hearing about a drunk driving crash that took place in 2012 in Missoula, in which a drunk driver plowed into two sisters who were walking on a sidewalk. One of the sisters was killed and the other suffered a broken leg. Today, the drunk driver was sentenced to 30 years in Montana State Prison, with 20 years suspended.
The driver, a Missoula man, had pleaded guilty to negligent vehicular homicide and vehicular homicide while under the influence.
At the time of the crash, the man's blood-alcohol content was about three times the legally acceptable limit, which is .08 percent.
It is difficult to call drunk driving car accidents "accidents." Driving while intoxicated is a choice that a person makes. It is a selfish choice to throw caution to the wind; it is a choice that costs lives everyday across the U.S.
In Montana, drunk drivers can be held accountable under criminal law, as has been done in this case. They can also be held liable for wrongful death, should the loved ones of victims choose to take such an action. This is a way for surviving loved ones to receive financial compensation for funeral expenses, lost future wages, and more. Those who are injured may pursue personal injury actions to obtain compensation for their medical expenses.
Source: Ravalli Republic, "Missoula man gets 10 years for drunken crash that killed pedestrian," Martin Kidston, Feb. 21, 2014