Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

What charges would you bring against a man in this situation?

Asked by Dutchess_III (26647 points ) May 10th, 2012

A man and his girlfriend had been out drinking, and left for home at about 2 a.m. in his truck. Home was about 14 miles away, most of it on 70 mph highway. They were fighting. A third person was on a cell phone with the girlfriend, listening to the fight. She heard the man yell that he was going to wreck the truck if she (his girlfriend) didn’t shut up. A few seconds later, the truck did indeed wreck. The physical evidence indicates that the truck took a hard right turn, for no apparent reason, into the wide ditch along side of the highway and rolled. They were both ejected. The girlfriend was killed, the man sustained minor injuries.

I just got a news text of the verdict and the charges that the man was found guilty of.

Here is the original story.

What would you call it?

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25 Answers

rebbel's avatar

Murder, and suicide attempt.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t think you can bring charges against someone for attempting to kill themselves. There are different levels of murder. Consider that they may be considering the alcohol as a mitigating factor.

marinelife's avatar

Murder in the second degree.

jca's avatar

Any charges would be determined by the District Attorney, according to the laws of the state.

ragingloli's avatar

Acquittal due to insufficient evidence of guilt. As stated, the truck veered off the road for no apparent reason, therefore the actual reason can not be demonstrated. The man’s outburst is not sufficient evidence or even proof that it was intentional.
Sorry.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

If the man is determined to have been the driver then I’d charge him with manslaughter or gross negligence resulting in death. Drivers are assumed to take responsibility for the safety of their passengers and drive accordingly, yes?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@jca Yes, I know this. I asked the question in the vein of “what would YOU do” (if you were the DA.)

@ragingloli The evidence showed, however, that it didn’t just “veer” off the road. It took a hard right, more than would be accounted for by over correction (which is what the defence tried to claim.)

CWOTUS's avatar

After the drunk driving charge – assuming the evidence is collected in time and properly and supports that charge – no other charges unless his speed is indicated to be greatly in excess of 70 mph, as a forensic accident investigator can determine from the wreck evidence. I wonder if @ragingloli feels as spooky as I do when we more or less agree?

Actually, now that I’ve read the story, I think they may not be able to make any charges at all, if they’re going to make an honest prosecution. Based on what I’ve read about some criminal prosecutions in Arkansas, I wouldn’t bet much on that likelihood. It seems that the police have their minds made up, and they’re going to press a case regardless of what facts they have.

WestRiverrat's avatar

He could be charged with vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide in some states if he was determined to be DUI. But other than that probably just DUI and failure to maintain control of the vehicle would be the only charges in my state.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The evidence shows that he deliberately wrecked the truck.

And yes, @Neizvestnaya. Drivers are responsible not only for their passengers but for others on the road.

ragingloli's avatar

@Dutchess_III
The evidence shows that he deliberately wrecked the truck.
From what I read, it does not show that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ragingloli That article was written the day after the wreck, a year ago. They didn’t know for sure WHAT had happened. I would have posted an update, but it won’t be out until tomorrow.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The guards were discussing this today (dude was housed in the jail so they “know” him,) so I joined in. They all agreed that there was no way to know what really happened. I said, “For all we know, since they were both drunk, when he threatened to wreck the truck she could have said, “I’ll do it for you!” and grabbed the wheel.” But that wasn’t a defense so I assume that didn’t happen.

Cruiser's avatar

Stupidity.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Lord, 9/10th of the population would be incarcerated @Cruiser!

lillycoyote's avatar

I checked the Kansas statute on second degree murder and for that charge you have to either kill someone

(a) Intentionally; or

(b) unintentionally but recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life

I guess if the prosecution can prove that he either intended to kill her or if he didn’t intend to kill her, that he acted “recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life” then they’ve got him.

It seems pretty clear cut, the charge that is, not the evidence. There’s really not enough information in the article to say one way or the other, I don’t think.

The prosecution must think they have enough evidence to take him to trial on that charge or they would have probably either not charged him or gone with a lesser charge like some kind of manslaughter charge or negligent homicide or something like that it seems.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Very nice Lilly!!

Ok…I found an update.
And This

They wound up with “Involuntary manslaughter while in the commission of a DUI.” (Legal wording is so strange sometimes.) Which means jail time.

I hope he graduated from High School.

Cruiser's avatar

@Dutchess_III Too conservative an estimate there!

Ron_C's avatar

This is one of those red neck offenses, driving while stupid. Second degree murder for the driver.

lillycoyote's avatar

Kansas DUI laws

Looks like he could get between about 3 and 15 years.

I wonder if the reason he didn’t have a license was because of one or more previous DUI convictions. That might influence the sentencing.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Probably. I can’t believe the number of people who drive on suspended licenses AND get into wrecks.

wundayatta's avatar

Does this mean he could attend one of your classes?

Dutchess_III's avatar

If he doesn’t have a diploma, and if I allowed him in, then yes.

wundayatta's avatar

How do you decide who to allow in?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Depends on their attitude. I actually don’t go looking at the DOC files any more. I don’t want to know! I’ve only kicked two people out of the program, and that was after they had been there a while and exhibited an extreme inability to play well with others. That was early on.

Since then though, I just ask my students what they think of a particular person who’s requested to come in.

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