The effects of a car crash can be devastating, but the effects of one that takes the life of your closest friend can lead to an intense and lasting level of suffering.
One ordinary day last July, two women went for a drive, not knowing that for at least one of them, it would be their last. Oklahoma's News9.com reports on the story, explaining how a crash in Spencer, Oklahoma, left one victim in fighting for her life in intensive care, and the other victim deceased. Now, four months later, the survivor of the crash is finally beginning to show some improvement. On the date of the accident, she was rendered nearly paralyzed, had gasoline burns on her body, and was in intensive care for 122 days. She remains under the treatment and care of a specialty hospital near Tulsa, where she needs constant use of a ventilator. Her husband hopes they will be able to celebrate their upcoming 44th wedding anniversary. She, her husband, and the family members of the other victim continue to grieve through the holidays.
According to Oklahoma County investigators, the crash happened when a taxi collided with the car the women were driving, causing their car to flip on the roadway. The News9.com report indicates that, according to court records, the taxi driver was speeding at the time of the collision, and there was evidence of PCP, a hallucinogenic drug, in the taxi. The four charges he is now facing as a result of the accident include first-degree manslaughter, causing an accident while driving a vehicle without a valid driver's license, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, and possession of a firearm after prior convictions. These charges are added to unrelated "numerous drug convictions and pending drug cases" that the taxi driver is already facing. He has pled not guilty to all four charges.
Drugged driving to blame for many car accident fatalities
The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that driving while under the influence of even small amounts of drugs can have a serious impact on one's ability to drive. The institute's National Survey on Drug Use and Health explains that 10.3 million adolescents and adults admitted to driving under the influence of illicit drugs during the previous year. This rate was slightly higher than that reported the previous year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2009, nearly 20 percent of drivers who were fatally injured in car accidents were driving under the influence of "at least one illicit, prescription or over-the-counter drug." The study suggests that the numbers may actually be higher, due to the lack of consistency in blood tests after accidents, and the presence of both drugs and alcohol in the system.
CBS News reports that 5.4 percent of motorists in Oklahoma acknowledged driving while drugged, placing them 11th in the ranking of states with the highest rates of drugged driving. The data was provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, from 2006 to 2009.
If you or a loved one were involved in a car accident involving a drugged driver, and you have suffered injuries from their carelessness, you may be entitled to recovery. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer today to help ensure the best possible outcome for your case.