West Virginia (WV) has the fifth highest per capita rate of drunk driving fatalities in the United States, and the Mountaineer State may hold on to that distinction in 2010 if early reports are an indication of what will happen on West Virginia roadways the rest of this year.

On Jan. 19, state police charged Sarah Pack with DUI after Pack crashed into another car traveling in the same lane of Route 73 near the town of Logan and killed the driver of the other car. Three days later, on Jan. 22, Jerry Alfred Wright II flipped his car on Route 14 near Mineral Springs and killed his passenger. Wright was also injured in the crash, and breath tests conducted at the hospital showed he had a blood alcohol content of .241. Two weeks earlier, Charles D. Myers of Martinsburg somehow managed to avoid killing himself when, while drunk and driving on the night of Jan. 7, he spun out his car and wound up in a ditch. Myers’ car caught fire, but he got out of the vehicle. Myers now faces his second DUI charge.

During my two decades representing victims of drunk driving accidents, I have seen too often how much pain, suffering and loss intoxicated drivers cause. And nearly every day, I learn that another person has claimed a life or seriously injured another person after getting behind the wheel after drinking too much alcohol. Until that is no longer the case, my colleagues and I will remain committed to highlighting the dangers of drunk driving and ensuring victims of the unsafe and irresponsible actions of others receive justice.