Sometimes, drivers get behind the wheel while under the influence thinking that they will be okay. They think that they are still sober enough to stay in their lane and to avoid other vehicles. But alcohol affects a driver’s response time and judgment in such a way that drunk driving accidents can occur in almost any set of circumstances.
For example, on a Sunday morning late last year, a man in his early forties was driving his pickup truck while under the influence. According to an eyewitness who was on a bicycle behind the truck, another cyclist in front of the truck signaled a left turn. The truck driver, however, proceeded to attempt to pass the cyclist on the left. The truck hit the bicycle, throwing the cyclist off of it.
The cyclist was fortunate to land in the grass but suffered serious injuries in the accident. The driver who hit the bicyclist fled the scene, but police found his pickup truck later that morning and arrested him. He was recently sentenced to probation for 3 years and will serve 200 community service hours. He also received a nine-month jail sentence but will be allowed work release.
The case demonstrates the value of eyewitness evidence in a case where a DUI driver flees the scene. Police were able to match a truck to the description and make an arrest. DUI drivers who cause injuries like this may be held accountable for their victims’ losses through a personal injury suit. In addition to compensation, punitive damages may lead to a significant and much-needed financial award to the victim of a drunk driving accident.