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Shapiro & Appleton

Lynchburg Native Who Was a Passenger in a Vehicle Killed in Bedford County Accident

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James Dale Gunter, a Lynchburg native (ABC 13 News, Aug. 2013) was killed after the car he rode in overturned in Bedford County, Virginia (VA). Mr. Gunter was a passenger in a vehicle traveling north on Route 501 in the Coleman Falls area when the car ran off the road, hit a guard rail and overturned, according to wset.com. He was only 53 years old.

Our deepest sympathies go out to the Gunter family. Losing a loved one is never easy, but it is especially gut-wrenching when the loss is sudden and results from a preventable accident.

It is so frustrating to read about car wrecks that result in the loss of life due to a drunk driver. The “what ifs” enter your mind and you think, “what if the driver exercised reasonable care and didn’t get behind the wheel, maybe this tragedy could have been avoided.” Unfortunately, drunk driving accidents are an all-too-common occurrence in Virginia, and across the country.

Virginia State Police have charged the driver of the car with a DUI. Driving under the influence is governed by Virginia Code § 18.2-266. If this was the at-fault driver’s first offense, he would not be subject to a minimum jail term. That doesn’t mean he is free from criminal punishment. It just means there is no statutory minimum jail term that must be served.

If this is the driver’s second offense, the minimum jail term is10 days. If it’s a third offense, the minimum jail term is 90 days, according to this site - http://dui.drivinglaws.org/virginia.php

For information about the other remedies that can be pursued against the at-fault party, take a moment to view this article our firm published on the rights of a family member against a drunk driver whose careless actions took the life of a loved one:

http://www.hsinjurylaw.com/library/personal-injury-or-death-caused-by-a-drunk-driver.cfm

Richard N. Shapiro
Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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