On October 2, 2011 a 19-year-old speeding back from partying in South Beach rear-ended a vehicle driven by a 68-year-old woman heading home from working the late shift as Assistant Manager at McDonald’s. The 4:30 am car crash, which occured on LeJeune Road in Coral Gables, killed the 68-year-old grandmother instantly, with an impact so severe it pushed her trunk into her front seat. The victim’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the University of Miami student and her father claiming he is liable for her conduct. The victim’s family attorney advised that further charges could eventually include those nightclubs and/or hotel that served the liquor illegally to the teen.
According to the police report, the teen was driving at a high rate of speed in her brand new Audi SUV when she struck the victim’s vehicle. The report further states that she was on her way home from South Beach where she allegedly drank heavily at various nightclubs, using a fake ID. Toxicology results released by investigators show the driver had a blood alcohol content of .231, nearly three times over the legal limit, during the accident according to wsvn.com. She was placed under house arrest and fitted with an electronic monitoring bracelet. She now faces charges of DUI, vehicular homicide and reckless driving.
This is indeed a tragic accident that took the life of a mother and grandmother. One week before the crash, the victim danced at her son’s wedding. The U.S. Department of Transportation defines an alcohol-related death as a fatality where at least one driver in the accident has a positive blood alcohol concentration value. The latest numbers show that Florida had 904 alcohol related traffic deaths in 2009.
What is an appropriate criminal sentence for the 19-year-old driver?