As I sit hear preparing to defend a DUI case in the City of Jackson Municipal Court, I am reading a news story about 3 Doors Down bassist Todd Harrell’s alleged involvement in a DUI related homicide. According to news reports, Harrell was speeding through a Nashville neighborhood when he clipped a pickup truck driven by Paul Howard Shoulders, Jr. Shoulders lost control of his car and wrecked. Mr. Shoulders subsequently died. (Reports indicated that Mr. Shoulders was not wearing a safety belt).
Harrell was questioned by police and admitted to drinking hard cider and taking Lortab and Zanax. Harrell’s troubles continued when he got to jail for booking. Officers found numerous pills (Xanax,. 24 oxycodone pills and four oxymorphone) in a plastic bag which were hidden in his sock. Harrell was charged for illegally bringing these drugs into a jail. (This charge seems silly since the law seeks to prohibit a person from bringing drugs in a jail to distribute them to inmates; clearly Harrell was not doing this). Harrell remained in jail on $100,000 bond and has a court date this Thursday.
This is another tragic accident caused by drinking and driving. I don’t want to be piling on Harrell here by Monday Morning Quarterbacking but this is a perfectly avoidable crime. If you want to go out and have some “hard cider with your Lortab and Xanax” you should have a designated driver or plan to call a cab. I’ve seen 3 Doors Down record sales and I’m pretty sure Harrell could have arranged for a driver. That’s it. End of story.
But we have talked and blogged about these cases for years now. People will continue to drink and drive. They will continue to talk to the police and admit drinking and taking drugs. They will take field sobriety tests and breath tests. It makes sense when you think about it. Their judgement is already impaired so they aren’t thinking straight. Why else would you admit to taking drugs and drinking after causing a fatal wreck?
I have defended drivers accused of DUI’s but I have also represented those who have been seriously injured or killed by drivers who are DUI. These cases are never easy. On the defense side you have to convince a judge or a jury that simply having a drink or two doesn’t impair your driving to the point where you cannot legally operate a motor vehicle. This is difficult because many people believe that one drink is too many.
On the other side, so often we represent a person who has been injured by a drunk driver and the driver does not have sufficient insurance coverage to even pay their medical bills much less future damages. We have clients with permanent injuries caused by drunk drivers who were stuck with hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. The drivers were eventually prosecuted and are serving jail time so they have no jobs or money. There’s no way to get “blood from a turnip” as my Dad used to say.
DUI is a crime which is easily preventable but which we will continue to see. If you want to help then be a designated driver, call a cab, or stay home and enjoy a cold beverage. Cars and alcohol do not mix. I would rather you call a cab than have to call me.
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Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.