Devastating news out of California has many people here in Michigan asking for stricter underage drinking laws, especially in cases of teenagers getting behind the wheel and driving afterwards.
According to reports, a 19-year-old girl had been drinking and partying with friends this month when she and four of her friends got into a 1989 Mercedes and left the party. While they were driving, police say that the teenagers began speeding through the streets. When the girl attempted to negotiate a sharp corner, she apparently lost control of the car.
Skidding across the pavement, the car then hopped the curb and allegedly ran over two homeless people who had been sleeping on the sidewalk next to a building. Police then say that the teenager's vehicle continued for another 50 feet, while dragging the homeless man and woman under the car, before it came to a stop.
When emergency crews arrived on scene, two of the passengers had already fled the scene while the 19-year-old driver and the owner of the car stayed behind. The two were immediately arrested and taken to the local jail where the driver was charged with two counts of manslaughter and driving under the influence. It is likely that she will also be charged with underage drinking and driving as well.
Her bail has been set for $100,000 but it is unclear at this time when her trial date will be set.
Cases like this are particularly difficult for the persons involved because the consequences can escalate when vehicular manslaughter is included in the charges. It is important for people in these types of situations to remember that they are always innocent until proven guilty and would be well advised to speak with a criminal defense attorney to make sure that their rights are protected.
Source: The New York Daily News, "Drunk 19-year-old crashes Mercedes into 2 homeless people sleeping on sidewalk in L.A.'s Skid Row, killing both," Philip Caulfield, Oct. 29, 2012