Two men, a 45-year-old passenger and a 40-year-old driver, sustained injury last October in a crash in Roanoke, Virginia. A tractor-trailer struck the side of the SUV in which the two men were riding after the driver of the SUV reportedly failed to yield to a yellow light. As a result, his passenger required hospitalization for approximately five months, one of which he reportedly spent in a coma. Initially, the SUV driver faced charges of felony DUI maiming due to his passenger's injuries in addition to charges of driving while intoxicated.
As the result of an agreement in which the SUV driver pleaded no contest to the DWI, the prosecutors dropped the maiming charge. The court sentenced him to 12 months in custody but suspended 10 months of that time. Subsequently, the SUV driver only needs to serve 60 days of incarceration. Pending the jail's approval of a request from the driver, he may be able to serve his sentence only on weekends. Additional penalties include a 12-month driver's license suspension, a $250 fine and participation in a VASAP program.
A defense attorney argued that an automotive malfunction in the SUV contributed to the crash. Nevertheless, toxicology screen results allegedly demonstrate a blood alcohol concentration slightly higher than the legal limit, at 0.082%.
The nature and extent of the injuries the SUV driver sustained in the crash are not known. There is no report of any injuries to the tractor-trailer driver. Those involved in a crash in which people became hurt, and facing drunk driving charges as a result, may find it helpful to contact an attorney.