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Deadly Norfolk DUI Earns Guilty Driver Six Year Jail Term

Ronald K. Sharpe Jr. used to teach physical education and health at Azalea Garden Middle School in Norfolk, Virginia (VA). That part of his life ended the night he crashed into the car Alexandria Calamia was driving

Sharpe, drunk on beer and high on marijuana according to police evidence and his own guilty plea to a Norfolk court in late July, crossed several lanes of traffic, ran through a median and slammed into Calamia's car. Calamia died after her car spun off the road and struck a tree. One of Calamia's passengers also suffered serious head and face injuries but survived.

On Nov. 5, Sharpe accepted a sentence of 6.5 years in jail for aggravated involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Character witnesses and Sharpe's defense attorney argued for a shorter jail term, saying, according to a Virginian-Pilot report, Sharpe "was not a criminal, but a good man who made bad choices ... (but) had spent his life trying to help people through teaching."

I do not doubt that Sharpe had no intention of killing Calamia or injuring her passenger. I could also--despite my initial skepticism--eventually be convinced that Sharpe made the potentially fatal decision to drive drunk and stoned a single time only to have the worst thing happen. I also would never believe that either reality mattered.

More than 12,000 Americans die in accidents involving drug- or alcohol-impaired drivers each year. The simplest way to prevent DUI fatalities is for drivers to stay out of their cars and trucks after they have had too much to drink or used any narcotic drugs.

Despite recent decreases in rates of drunk driving, the incidence of drugged driving appears to be on the rise. The single possible positive outcome from the Sharpe case and Calamia tragedy is that someone will take to heart the lesson that lives too often end when people get behind wheel after drinking or doing drugs.

About the Editors
along the Virginia Beach section of Northampton Boulevard and ended Calamia's life completely.: Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan is a law firm which focuses on injury and accident law, and our attorneys have handled thousands of car and truck accident cases. Check out our case results to see for yourself. In addition, check out our FREE Best Guide to Car Accident injuries in Virginia our special report on distracted driving. Our primary office is in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA), but our lawyers also hold licenses in NC, SC, WV, KY and DC. We are ready to talk to you by phone right now. We provide free initial confidential injury case consultations, so call us toll free at 1-800-752-0042. Our injury attorneys also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube. Further, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as pro bono public information services.

EJL
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