On May 21, a Virginia man entered a guilty plea to charges of drunk driving and inflicting injury on someone as a result of driving while impaired. The charges were related to a car accident that occurred in Shenandoah County on Nov. 29, 2012 at approximately 11:36 p.m. According to reports, the 23-year-old man crossed the centerline while driving and crashed head-on into another car driven by a woman. The man's blood-alcohol was reportedly .18 when it was tested at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital after the accident.
The woman was seriously injured and was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital by air transport. According to reports, the woman was in the hospital for around a month as she recovered from a punctured lung, cracked ribs and several broken bones, including her leg, foot, pelvis, neck and collarbone. The woman was in a wheelchair for some time but can now walk with a cane.
The man was sentenced to six years in prison after he pleaded guilty to the DUI charges, but the time was suspended except for one year. Instead, the man will be on supervised probation for three years and then unsupervised probation for another two years after his jail sentence. According to the judge in the case, one of the reasons that man received a lesser sentence was because the other woman involved in the crash did not want to testify. There were also reportedly some issues with the state trooper who was involved in the case.
A guilty plea is not always the best choice, but in some cases like this one, it can allow those accused to avoid a trial and receive a lesser sentence than a conviction may result in.
Source: Northern Virginia Daily, "Drunk driving defendant says victim's injuries haunt him" Joe Beck, May. 21, 2014