Three people are dead and three are in critical condition after a DUI related head-on collision in Anderson, SC. The driver of the offending vehicle, 24 year-old assistant Anderson University assistant baseball coach, Riley McDermott, of Davie, FL, crossed the center line and veered into oncoming traffic. His Ford F-150 pick-up truck collided with a Nissan Altima.
The Nissan’s 22 year-old driver, Corey Simmonds and 17 year-old passenger, Amber Perkins, died instantly. First responders had to cut the remaining passengers out of the vehicle. Another passenger, 20 year-old Jessica Roberts, was transported to the hospital where she later died. Three others were injured in the wreck including 28 year-old Ralph Nostrand, an assistant soccer coach at Anderson University, who was a passenger in the pick-up truck, and a 12 year-old female who was a passenger in the Nissan.
McDermott, who suffered minor injuries, was transported to the hospital, examined, and released into police custody. At his arraignment this morning, McDermott’s lawyers requested that he be released on bond and allowed to leave the jurisdiction to return to Florida to be with his family. The judge denied bond labelling McDermott a flight risk.
The devastation that McDermott’s bad decision has yielded is immeasurable. And the toll may not be completely counted as the other victims fight for their lives in the hospital.
With all of the anti-drunk-driving campaigns and the heightened public awareness about the dangers of drunk driving, this case forces us to question why people continue to drink and drive.
“When an alcoholic drinks, his head is full of lies…” says Dan Hoge, a four-time convicted drunk driver and founder of Drunks Against Drunk Driving. Hoge, who has been sober for eight years continues, “…those lies tell me that I’m okay, I’ll be able to keep the car between the lines or I won’t get caught this time.”
To put the drunk-driving in perspective, let’s look at some interesting facts about impaired driving:
- Recent studies show that by the time the average drunk driver is caught, he/she has gotten away with driving under the influence an estimated 87 times
- Impairment has nothing to do with the type of alcohol consumed – instead, it is affected by the amount of alcohol consumed over a period of time
- Cold showers, hot coffee, and exercise will not make someone sober; only time will
- Someone is killed in a drunk-driving fatality every 53 minutes in the United States
- Over 40% of fatal automobile accidents are alcohol related
- Every 90 seconds someone is injured in a drunk-driving accident
- Between 50% and 75% of people whose license has been suspended or revoked for DUI drive illegally anyway
- In 2010, 211 children died in DUI-related crashes; 62% of those children were in the vehicle with the impaired driver
There is no doubt that the facts are disturbing. The next question we must ask ourselves is what can be done to stop the instance of driving under the influence. Some of the measures taken around the nation include:
- DUI/DWI courts to address the problem of repeat-offenders
- Automatic license revocation
- Automatic license revocation coupled with mandatory jail time
- License plate confiscation
- Vehicle impoundment or immobilization
- Retrofit of vehicle with alcohol detection device
The sad truth about DUI accidents is that they are totally preventable. All it takes is for someone to decide not to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. Though these accidents are preventable, they also prove to be some of the most devastating as illustrated by this case.
With the holidays quickly approaching, the Steinger, Greene, & Feiner family wants to express the importance of embracing an anti-drinking-and-driving policy. Though many people believe New Year’s Eve to be the holiday with the highest number of alcohol-related accidents, New Year’s Eve is a distant second to Thanksgiving according to an article in Forbes magazine. The decision to drink and get behind the wheel means that you are putting yourself as well as unsuspecting motorists at risk of injury or worse. Plan ahead. Designate a sober driver prior to partaking in festivities. We encourage you to make decisions that will make the holidays memorable for the right reasons.