On Saturday, August 2nd hundreds assembled at Sloan’s Lake Park in Denver, Colorado to participate in Mother’s Against Drunk Driving‘s 3rd Annual Walk Like MADD fund raising event. In spite of the record breaking, triple digit temperatures, spirits were high and the pace was brisk as attorneys and staff of Bachus & Schanker, along with their families (and 6 dogs), joined hundreds of other walkers and volunteers to ultimately raise over $99,000 ($5,000 over their goal of $95,000) for the Denver MADD chapter. These donations are used to support the local community by providing support programs for victims of drunk driving and programs to help prevent drunk driving and underage drinking.
Working at Bachus & Schanker, I typically find myself on the victim’s side of drunk driving collisions. As we represent plaintiffs in auto collisions (and other personal injury cases), I am well-versed in what happens to drunk defendants, how to set up claims with the various insurance companies, and how to help our clients make their way through the American legal and healthcare systems.
It was 9pm on a Thursday night – last night to be exact. I watched the end of something on TV I can’t remember and took Clifford out for his nightly walk. It was a nice night, but it had been raining earlier in the day. The roads were still a bit wet, and really – it felt like Seattle more than Denver.
Suddenly, I saw a glow of headlights coming towards me. For no reason other than that there was nothing else to look at while Clifford was taking care of business, I watched the Jeep Liberty. It passed me at first, very slowly. And then it appeared like it was trying to make a U-turn so it could park on the opposite side of the street. Somehow, the Jeep couldn’t make the U-turn. And it turned into a 3-point turn. A very slow and awkward 3-point turn. Now I was curious. Clifford was long done with his romp in the grass, but I felt compelled to keep watching. The car finally appeared ready for parking. A curb space fit for a semi truck was available, but the Jeep didn’t drive into the 18 feet. The Jeep passed the space and then attempted to parallel park as if it was parking in a spot made for a mini cooper in Manhattan.
In the late hours of March 22, 2007, Jennifer Kois and Jake Brock, both 19 year old Mesa State College students were on their way home from a date when they were rammed in the back of their 2001 Saturn at the speed of 120 mph by Patrick Strawmatt. Jennifer Kois died en route to the hospital and Jake Brock died about an hour after his arrival.
Strawmatt, a 42 year old former Wheatridge police officer, had made an obscene hand gesture and was eluding troopers who tried to pull him over after complaints to 911 about his erratic and aggressive driving on west-bound I-70 in Mesa County, Colorado.
Good news for the safety of motorists as Governor Bill Ritter of Colorado signed two DUI bills into law last week.
In 2006, an estimated 17,602 people died in alcohol-related traffic crashes–an average of one every 30 minutes. These deaths constitute 41 percent of the 42,642 total traffic fatalities. Of these, an estimated 13,470 involved a driver with an illegal BAC (.08 or greater).