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Shapiro & Appleton

Driver Charged in Drunk Driving Crash that Killed Pastor Has Multiple DWI Convictions

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The driver who police say is responsible for a drunk driving crash that killed a 43-year-old pastor from Hudson, North Carolina, was arraigned Wednesday on multiple charges, including second-degree murder without regard, driving while impaired, fail to stop for a steady red light, driving while license revoked, and possession of an open container.

The fatal drunk driving crash occurred Tuesday evening, at approximately 8:30, at the entrance to the Hickory American Legion Fairgrounds in Newton. According to police, the 31-year-old driver, who is from Newton, drove his pickup truck through a red light and slammed into a minivan which the victim was driving. The pastor died at the scene. Also in the minivan were the victim’s three children, who were all transferred to a local hospital. The children were released the following day.

The driver of the truck who police say caused the fatal crash is currently being held at the Catawba County jail. His bail has been set at $1 million. Court records reveal that he was found guilty of drunk driving in July 2011. When he was arrested for that charge, his blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.16 – twice the legal limit. He was sentenced to community service for that charge.

He was arrested for drunk driving again in 2015. This time, his BAC registered at 0.27 – triple the legal limit. He was sentenced to 18 months’ probation for that charge.

The statistics of repeat offenders when it comes to drunk driving is staggering. Almost 1.5 million people are arrested each year for driving under the influence, and half of them are driving even though their right to drive has been legally suspended. A very frightening statistic is that when a drunk driver is finally arrested, he or she has gotten behind the wheel of their vehicle drunk at least 100 times before getting caught.

The driver who police say caused the death of this victim appears to be testimony to these statistics. And because he chose to continually drive while drunk, despite the dangers he put himself and others in and despite the fact his driving privileges have been revoked, a family has lost their husband and father and a congregation has lost a much-loved pastor.

Any family who has lost a loved one in drunk driving accidents should contact a skilled North Carolina wrongful death attorney to find out what legal recourse they may have against the driver, separate from any criminal charges that driver may be facing. Our NC law firm has successfully represented many victims of drunk driving accidents, and their families, and understand how heart-wrenching these cases can be.

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