Drunk-Driver Sentenced For Hitting Tree, Injuring Pedestrian

Posted on: September 4th, 2012 by

Automobile accidents can happen in very unusual or even bizarre ways, but when a driver is intoxicated, the chances that an accident occurs under these kinds of circumstances increase.  After all, the odds that an accident will occur, period, rise dramatically when a driver has gotten behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.

There was a story out a town near Seattle last week, for example, about a drunk driver who struck a pedestrian in virtually unforeseeable circumstances.  A police officer was summoned to a neighborhood in Renton, Washington, after receiving reports of a man behaving oddly in the middle of street.  Somehow, both the officer and the man ended up in the middle of a busy road, where he was struck and severely injured by a drunk driver. Other drivers, presumably sober, noticed the scene as they approached the two men and slowed down.  But alcohol can seriously impair one’s ability to drive safely, and this accident, unfortunately, demonstrated that fact clearly.  Moreover, the drunk driver could not possibly have anticipated coming upon two men in the middle of a street, but the fact that she was drunk made the chances of something bad happening – in some way or another – more likely.

Similarly, an accident that some time ago near Chicago, Illinois underscores the fact that drunk drivers pose a danger to all who share the road with them, and even pedestrians who are not on the road at all.  As with the story from Washington, this accident occurred in an unusual way.

49-year-old Donald Rericka, Jr. was driving in St. Charles, Illinois, a town about an hour east of Chicago, when the accident occurred.  It was about 2 a.m. on a Sunday in January 2010.  According to police, Rericka was attempting to turn his car in downtown when he lost control of the vehicle and ran off the road; he nearly struck a crowd of pedestrians on a sidewalk.

Rericka’s Chevrolet Silverado truck continued to careen dangerously out of control, and finally hit a tree.  The force of the impact snapped the base of the tree and fell on a woman who was standing near it.  Her head was then knocked into a building.

Two years later, the 50-year-old victim continues to experience painful and debilitating effects from the aftermath of the accident.  She sustained serious immediate injuries that night, including bleeding on the brain, a torn anterior cruciate ligament in one of her knees, and broken bones in her chest and hand, and she continues to suffer from short-term memory loss and difficulty in moving about.

Rericka refused to take a breathalyzer test that night, so police requested and obtained a search warrant to obtain a blood sample from him for testing.  In fact, it was the first time in the police department’s history that such a request had been made (a similar law in Washington now allows police officers to draw blood from suspected drunk drivers for DUI testing).  Rericka’s blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, was measured at .170 percent, over two times the legal limit.

Last week, a jury found Rericka guilty of aggravated DUI, and he is now awaiting sentencing.  He is currently free on a conditional $3,000 bond; he could face up to twelve years in prison.

A DUI attorney from Westminster can help if you are facing a potential trial for drinking and driving.  DUIs are often prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and a conviction can lead to the maximum sentence being imposed.  A DUI attorney from Westminster can help you avoid the uncertainty of a trial by negotiating a reduction or dismissal of the charges against you, or by arguing for a fair sentence.  However your case is resolved, your DUI attorney from Westminster can help execute a legal strategy designed to achieve the best outcome based on the facts of your case.  Contact a DUI attorney from Westminster today if you have questions about your case or the laws in your area.