The arrival of the holidays in the Portland-Vancouver area also means the arrival of more impaired drivers behind the wheel. A tragic prelude to this year's holiday season was provided by a 21-year-old driver who was allegedly drunk when he rolled his pickup truck and killed one of his passengers.
The accident occurred just north of the Salem suburb of Keizer in the early morning hours of December 17. According to police, the owner of the truck admitted that he consumed three beers before getting behind the wheel. The probable cause statement used to support the arrest warrant also said that the young man admitted to losing control of his truck as he drove through a curve. The truck rolled over and trapped one of the passengers inside. Another passenger was thrown out of the truck and suffered fatal injuries.
Police claim that the driver failed to pass nine of 18 field sobriety tests at the scene of the accident. At the hospital where he was taken for treatment of his injuries, the driver submitted to a blood draw. Police records show that his blood alcohol content was 0.158 percent, almost twice the legal limit. Police then arrested the man on charges of second-degree manslaughter, DUI, fourth-degree assault and reckless endangerment of another person.
If a defendant is convicted of second-degree manslaughter, they would face a mandatory prison sentence of six years and three months. Anyone facing drunk driving or other similar charges may benefit from consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can provide an analysis of the charges and evidence, suggest a defense strategy, and provide an estimate of whether a favorable plea bargain or acquittal is possible.
Source: Statesman-Journal, "Driver admitted to downing three beers before fatal crash north of Keizer," Whitney Woodworth, Dec. 19, 2017