Leniency Leads to Drunk Driving Deaths?

Our John’s Creek car accident attorneys know that drunk driving causes too many accidents, injuries, and deaths. In 2002, there were more than 17,000 unnecessary alcohol related deaths in the United States.

One new story touches on the subject, explain claims by one Georgia father that a police officer who stopped his intoxicated son and let him continue driving potentially contributed to one such unnecessary death. handcuffs (vectorportal).jpg

The Situation
Chris Walker knows that his 18 year old son Corey was driving drunk the night he died. He agrees that Corey should have never gotten behind the wheel after a day of binge drinking. But that night, in May 2010, a police officer stopped Corey and Mr. Walker still wants to know why he did not arrest Corey, which might have saved his life.

His son was stopped in Auburn, in Barrow County, Georgia, at 2am with his 21 year old friend in the passenger seat. The officer’s dash cam showed the officer asking Corey three different times if he had been drinking. He even noticed a tapped beer keg in the bed of Corey’s truck. His friend claimed ownership of the keg. The officer asked Corey about a breathalyzer test, asking him if he would pass with “flying colors,” to which the young man replied, “Yes, sir.” Surprisingly, the officer then let them go. One legal professional interviewed for the story noted, “I would think based on the officer’s knowledge and experience, he certainly could have gone a step further and asked this kid to take an Alco-sensor test.”

If only the officer had. After leaving the officer, Corey got gas and dropped his friend off. Forty-three minutes after being let go by Officer Pendergrass, the 18 year old hit a utility pole in neighboring Walton County and died. The Georgia state report on the accident stated that the driver, Corey Walker, had the odor of an alcoholic beverage. Later blood tests showed that Corey had a blood alcohol level of .217, about three times the legal limit for an adult. After seeing the dash cam video, the Georgia director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) (http://www.madd.org/) remarked that it was hard to know what the officer was thinking and why he didn’t pull the two young men out of the car during the stop.

It is hard not to argue that if the officer had given Corey a breathalyzer he would be alive today.

Our John’s Creek car accident lawyers appreciate that this tragedy is a reminder of the complex issues that sometimes come up in these cases. It is important for all those in a position to stop this reckless conduct to do so. Too many lives–particularly young lives–are lost because of drunk driving.

Legal Help
If you or someone in your family has been in a car accident and there could be a third party at fault, Sammons & Carpenter, PC has the experience to help you determine how to go forward. Call us today at 404-991-5950, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Georgia Drunk Driving Suit Results in Liability For Bar

Car Accident Liability for Buying Alcohol for Minors

(photo courtesy of vector portal)