Leroy Townsend has been charged with several criminal offenses regarding the DUI accident in February. Townsend, a 57-year-old resident of Tuttle, is charged with second-degree murder regarding the accident that took the lives of three teenagers. He is also charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, leaving the scene of a fatal accident, and leaving the scene of an injury accident.

Allegedly, Tuttle was drunk when he car crossed two lanes of traffic and slammed into members of the Moore High School cross-country team as they ran on the sidewalk outside of their school. Rachel Freeman, Yuridia Martinez, and Kolby Crum were killed in the drunk driving accident.

Townsend was allegedly driving 80 mph in a 25-mph speed zone when the accident occurred. He is being held in jail on a $1.2 million bond. Townsend’s 29-year-old son had been killed in a traffic accident in Moore the day before the DUI crash.

DUI Accidents Are Avoidable

Drunk driving accidents are preventable. Drivers choose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol. When they do, they put everyone on the road, including pedestrians, at risk of death and severe injuries.

There were 3,109 alcohol-related crashes reported in Oklahoma in 2018 that resulted in thousands of injuries and 55 fatalities. Across the country, approximately 30 people die in drunk driving accidents each day. In 2018, 10,511 people died in DUI accidents in the United States.

Alcohol severely impairs a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Just two or three beers can reduce a driver’s coordination and make it difficult to steer a vehicle. 

However, drunk driving accidents can be prevented. Instead of driving a vehicle, individuals can take public transportation or call a friend for a ride. A person should never get behind the wheel of a car when he or she is impaired by alcohol because the risks are too high.

Drunk Driving Accidents Cause Horrific Injuries

In addition to killing people, DUI accidents cause catastrophic injuries for other motorists, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Some victims never recover fully from their injuries. Their lives are changed forever because of a drunk driver.

Common DUI accident injuries include:

For many people, the road to recovery after a drunk driving car accident can be long and painful. Many victims face months of painful physical therapy. For some, the pain and suffering last a lifetime.

Who is Responsible for Damages in a Drunk Driving Accident?

If the impaired driver caused the crash, the drunk driver is liable for any injuries, damages, or losses caused by the crash. Insurance companies cannot deny claims based solely on the fact that their insured driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash. However, insurance companies often search for other ways to deny DUI accident claims.

The damages caused by a drunk driving accident include economic and non-economic damages. Examples of economic damages included in drunk driving accident claims are:

  • Hospital bills and surgery costs
  • Physician’s bills
  • Therapy and counseling
  • Medications and medical equipment
  • Loss of wages and salaries 
  • Loss of benefits and other compensation
  • Travel costs
  • Personal care costs and helps with household chores

The total economic costs vary based on the severity of the person’s injuries and other factors. In addition to the financial losses, a DUI accident victim also experiences emotional distress, physical pain, and other non-economic damages. They are entitled to compensation or these damages.

When a victim sustains a permanent impairment or disability, the person is also entitled to compensation for future damages. Ongoing medical care and future lost wages can be expensive. A DUI accident lawyer may retain medical experts, economists, and financial experts to accurately value future damages to maximize the recovery for future damages.

What Should I Do After a DUI Accident?

If you suspect that the other driver is intoxicated, do not confront the driver. Individuals under the influence of alcohol can become aggressive and dangerous. Call 911 to report the crash and notify the operator of your suspicions. 

If you take pictures or make a video to document the accident scene, beware that the drunk driver may retaliate if he or she feels threatened. Be very careful when dealing with a drunk driver after a crash.

When police officers arrive, describe the details that make you believe the other driver may be drunk. The officers will take care of the investigation. 

As soon as possible, see a doctor for treatment of your injuries. Quick documentation of injuries can help with a DUI accident claim. Keep copies of all documents, invoices, and bills related to the accident.

Even though the drunk driver may have caused the crash, insurance claims adjusters may try to blame you for contributing to the cause of the crash. Talking to a DUI accident lawyer near you before making statements or signing documents for the insurance company can help protect your right to fair compensation for a drunk driving accident claim.