September 1, 2011
A 17-year-old Chesterfield, Virginia, boy who drank as many as seven shots of tequila and then drove the wrong way down a highway, killing two people, has been convicted of aggravated involuntary manslaughter and now faces up to 41 years in prison.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the fatal collision occurred in March 2011 when the high school junior, who had a learner’s permit but not a license, got on the road around 2:30 a.m. and drove the wrong way through a Powhite Parkway Extension toll plaza at Courthouse Road. He then accelerated and began traveling north in the southbound lanes at up to 90 miles per hour.
The boy traveled the wrong way for a mile, during which time he almost collided with two cars being operated by police officers, before slamming into a BMW and killing both a 32-year-old male and 29-year-old male. One man died instantly, while the other died before paramedics arrived on the scene.
“I think the most aggravating factor was that he didn’t even realize he was involved in a (fatal) accident,” said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney B.J. McGee. “He thought it was a single-car accident … and didn’t realize that he had hit, and unfortunately killed, two other individuals.”
In addition to the manslaughter charge, the teen was charged with drunk driving and will be sentenced on December 5. He will serve a minimum of a year in jail on each manslaughter count, but could be imprisoned for as long as four decades.
What do you think can be done to deter drunk driving in Virginia?