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Automobile Collisions / Workers' Compensation

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Alcohol abuser sentenced in wrongful death of 4 victims

Wrongful death victims have no recourse for justice when someone recklessly endangers and takes their life. Families of the victims can sometimes be compensated for their losses by restitution ordered by the courts, or by filing their own wrongful death suit against the responsible party; however, there is nothing that can reverse the pain and suffering of their loss in the aftermath.

Wisconsin attorneys work hard to help families of wrongful death victims receive some kind of closure and compensation for their losses, but the worst cases are when there are multiple victims of fatalities in one family. A wrongful death case in Montana on a Crow Reservation in 2011 was one such case.

On Dec. 29, 2011, an intoxicated man from the Crow Agency had a head-on collision with another vehicle killing all three occupants of the other vehicle. The man's passenger was killed as well, leaving him as the lone survivor. The intoxicated man admitted in court this past Thursday that he was driving in the wrong lane when he hit the other vehicle head on. His alcohol content was rated as .257 percent following the accident, well exceeding the 0.08 legal limit in the state.

A federal judge sentenced the man to over 33 years' incarceration this past week, which he referred to as his "day of reckoning." This was the highest sentence he could pass down. Apparently, the man had drug his case out by entering a previous guilty plea and then withdrawing the plea. He pleaded guilty again and then attempted to withdraw his guilty plea again on this last day of court, but it only seemed to give the judge more incentive to raise his sentence more.

The victims in the oncoming car included a woman, her son and his girlfriend. The man's passenger appeared to be a friend from the Crow Agency. Nine people, who were friends and family of the victims appeared in court to speak for their loved ones. The judge ordered restitution for the families in addition to the prison term.

The man allegedly had previous problems with alcohol abuse, which included a DUI conviction and an arrest for disorderly conduct. He was attending a sobriety program at the time of the accident. His defense attorney claimed that his alcohol consumption began at a very young age, and he was a victim of poor parenting and abuse.

Source: billingsgazette.com, "Judge sentences man to 33 years for DUI wreck that killed 4" Claire Johnson, Oct. 24, 2013

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