Drunk Driving in Denver: A Danger to Residents
In the cold month of January 2015, a family in a mini van was travelling up Highway 85, likely on their way home from a family dinner or outing. There were two young boys in the back seat, Ethan who was 6 years old and Bryson, only 1 year old. Their father, Gilbert, was driving and their mother, Mistelle, sat in the passenger seat. In an instant, a Dodge pickup truck flew over the median and rammed into the driver’s side of this family’s car.
The driver of the Dodge was drunk. He died in this accident, and so did Gilbert and his two sons. Mistelle was left with serious injuries and no family. The driver of the truck was later identified as Macias-Marquez, a man who had at least eight prior DUI arrests, dating all the way back to 1997. It was clear in court records that this man was a potential danger to himself and others on the road because he was a repeat offender of driving under the influence. Yet, he was not taken off the road until he killed himself, another man, and two young children.
What does this tragic story say about drunk driving in Denver, Colorado?
That it is a very real danger to residents. It says that a drunk driving accident can happen anywhere at any time and have devastating consequences. This story tells us that repeat DUI offenders are likely still on the road, behind the wheel, and possibly under the influence.
We know that drunk drivers should be held liable for their actions, that victims of accidents caused by drunk drivers should be compensated for their personal, physical, and financial suffering. We are dedicated to achieving justice for individuals and families like the one described above, who are suffering devastating consequences at the hand of a drunk driver.
Luckily, drunk driving in Colorado seems to be declining; partly thanks to the efforts of law enforcement. Campaigns like “The Heat is On” are placing more law enforcement officers on the streets who are vigorously enforcing drunk driving laws. During a New Year’s Eve Enforcement period this year, there were 343 arrests made in Colorado for drunk driving. That number is down from 442 arrests made at the same time in 2013.
Throughout 2014, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) had 12 drunken driving enforcement periods. According to the Denver Post, a total of 8,001 arrests were made which is down from 9,060 arrests during enforcement periods in 2013. Although it is a good sign that DUI arrests have gone down in the past year, the amount of drunk driving accidents and fatalities in Colorado is still too high.
In 2014, Colorado had approximately 153 fatal drunk driving accidents, including the one we described above. The District Attorney from where the accident occured told 9 News that prosecutors and judges do not have strong enough tools to stop the repeat offenders that often cause these accidents. Currently, DUI offenders only face misdemeanor charges even after repeat offense. Lawmakers are working to change that.
In a bill pushed by Colorado lawmakers this year, people convicted of drunk driving in Denver and throughout Colorado will face felony charges upon their fourth offense. The hope with such a bill is that the harsher penalties will deter people from getting behind the wheel after drinking. In the past, laws that call for harsher penalties have been denied because of concerns about the cost to the judicial and prison system. But the finally came and the law to make the penalties for drunk drivers harsher passed and was signed by Colorado’s governor on June 1, 2015, making a fourth offense a felony, with consequences up to 6 years in prison.
But even an increase in penalties won’t completely eliminate drunk drivers and the devastating accidents that happen as a result of impaired driving. The emotional and financial cost for the victims of drunk driving accidents is often unimaginable and debilitating. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident with a drunk driver you’re likely feeling overwhelmed with all the things you need to take care of after a serious accident, from recovery to paying the piling bills. You might not have even had time to think about filing a claim for compensation from the person responsible for your pain and suffering.
Injuries from a drunk driving accident might include head injuries, neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, contusions, abrasions, dismemberment, paralysis, and more. These serious injuries not only result in large medical bills but also loss of ability to work and earn wages. A serious enough injury can keep you from the activities you love for the rest of your life. You are entitled to seek monetary compensation for these damages.
That’s where we can help. The experienced drunk driving accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya work with victims of drunk driving in Denver to get you the compensation you deserve. We know that every case is unique and often complicated, so we work directly with experts to investigate your accident. The professional input of medical specialists, accident reconstructionists, and toxicologists help us craft a legal strategy that works in your best interest.
We want to make sure that your voice is heard after a drunk driving accident in Denver, Colorado. Because the legal aspects of cases against drunk drivers are more complex than most personal injury cases, having a lawyer on your side will make for a smoother and less stressful journey through the process. We do the legal work so you can focus on healing and getting back on your feet after the accident.
If you or a loved one have been injured, or you have lost a family member because of a drunk driver, don’t hesitate to contact us at (303) 758-4777 for a free consultation about your accident. In order to prevent tragic deaths like those of Gilbert and his children in Colorado, we need to hold drunk drivers responsible for their negligent actions.