A Pennsylvania man has been charged with DUI causing death in an Interstate 79 wreck.
Police said Donald E. Watson, 54, of McMurray, caused the June 10 crash that killed a Maryland man. Medical records allegedly indicated his blood alcohol content was .277, more than three times the legal driving limit of .08.
According to a press release and criminal complaints: Watson was headed north on I -79 when his 1995 Chevrolet Tracker crossed the median and struck a southbound vehicle.
The driver — Henry Allen Burnett, 67, of Glenn Dale, Md. — was killed instantly.
Sgt. W.J. Yaskoweak, of the Monongalia County Sheriff ’s Department, said Watson was alert after the crash. Watson smelled of alcohol and admitted to having “too much” to drink — six or seven beers, he said.
Watson was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital.Yaskoweak executed a search warrant to obtain his medical records.
An online BAC calculator indicates that a man of Watson’s size — 145 pounds, according to jail records — would have to drink about 11 beers in two hours to reach a BAC of .277.
Watson was being held at North Central Regional Jail in lieu of $25,000 bond on Wednesday. He was also charged with DUI above .15.
A misdemeanor charge of DUI causing death carries a sentence of 90 days to one year in jail and a fine of $500-$1,000.
For the original story, please click this link: Fatal I-79 Car Wreck
National Commission Against Drunk Driving Statistics
- 41 percent of all traffic crashes are alcohol-related.
- Nearly 600,000 Americans are injured in alcohol-related traffic crashes each year.
- Someone dies in an alcohol-related traffic crash every 30 minutes. Every two minutes someone is hurt (non-fatally injured) in an alcohol-related accident.
- Three out of every 10 Americans face the possibility of being directly involved in an alcohol-related traffic crash during their lifetime.
Education promotes prevention.
According to USA Today, more than 1.5 million people were arrested in the United States last year for driving drunk and at least that many are estimated to have driven under the influence of drugs.
Drunk and drugged drivers continue to drive our roads and highways, causing more than 17,000 Americans to die each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, impaired driving will affect one in three Americans during their lifetimes.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), between 2002 and 2005, West Virginia used a high-visibility enforcement program and cut alcohol related deaths by 18% and the numbers of drivers who tested over the .08 BAC dropped 30%. This program included increased monitoring and enforcement in conjunction with paid advertisements on radio, TV, and billboards to increase public awareness of the dangers of DUI. Many states have dropped high-visibility enforcement programs because of a lack of funding, but NHTSA continues to encourage states to maintain high-visibility programs to decrease the number of DUI related crashes, injuries, and deaths.
West Virginia University presently uses an on-line alcohol awareness program for all in-coming freshmen and transfer students. The students must complete the program by certain dates or must pay a fifty-dollar penalty for missed deadlines. Morgantown public high schools also have DUI awareness programs before prom activities in the spring to increase student awareness of the hazards and legal ramifications of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
For more information about local accidents and driving safety or to get help and advice after you have been involved in an accident, please visit our website www.robinettelaw.com.