The 41-year-old man was charged with Aggravated Involuntary Manslaughter and DUI since he had a blood alcohol content of .15-.20 while transporting a child, according to WVEC News.
In June of 2013, the drunk driver was traveling with his wife and 5-year-old son, who was in the back seat of the vehicle, down Princess Anne Road. The vehicle started to drift to the right of the road. The intoxicated driver attempted to recover in his 2003 Toyota pickup truck, but he overcorrected and swerved into oncoming traffic. His vehicle collided with a 2000 Ford Taurus, driven by 84-year-old John William Hutchinson. The collision caused the Taurus to spin into an intersection between Princess Anne Road and Three Oaks Drive. Hutchinson was then hit again by a 2000 Volkswagen.
When intoxicated, your judgment, coordination, response time, and other mental and physical faculties are impaired. As we see if this awful accident, the consequences can be devastating. Fortunately, the drunk driver’s wife and son were not harmed in the collision. Unfortunately, Mr. Hutchinson’s wife, his passenger, and the driver of the Volkswagen Beetle were sent to a nearby hospital with injuries. Mr. Hutchinson was hurried to a nearby hospital where he later died.
Mr. Hutchinson lost his life because of another driver’s reckless, poor decision. The life of a loved one cannot be matched, even with compensation to mitigate the financial repercussions of a serious, fatal car accident. This is how punitive damages offer additional reparations that money towards medical bills or emotional trauma cannot. According to Virginia Code §8.01-44.5, the drunk driver’s conduct warrants punitive damages if “the defendant had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more by weight by volume or 0.15 grams or more per 210 liters of breath.” The at-fault driver’s blood alcohol concentration was .19, twice the legal limit in Virginia and applicable to the Virginia Code. Punitive damages act as an additional deterrent to hazardous behavior.
Our thoughts go out to Mr. Hutchinson’s wife, who survived him, and the driver of the Volkswagen Beetle.