When it comes to locating vehicles and drivers allegedly involved in hit-and-run accidents, police here in Nashville and elsewhere often rely on witness statements regarding the type of vehicle and/or a description of the driver. Officers canvass the area and might find a vehicle that appears to match the one witnesses described, but that does not mean they have actually found the culprit. Drivers are taken into custody and face charges that could include vehicular assault (if the victim lives) or vehicular homicide (if the victim dies), along with other charges such as DUI, if it appears to be appropriate.
After being involved in an accident and being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, you might think things could not get any worse. However, if someone else involved in the crash was seriously injured or died, you could end up facing charges for vehicular homicide or vehicular assault. Tennessee law allows these charges to be filed even if you had no intention to kill or seriously injure anyone when you got into your vehicle.
In June 2015, at least one tractor-trailer was involved in an eight-vehicle crash in a construction zone on a Tennessee highway. Six people lost their lives and 18 others suffered a variety of injuries. The driver of the tractor-trailer was taken into custody on charges that include six counts of vehicular homicide.
On May 22, 2015, an SUV was headed eastbound on the East Lamar Alexander Parkway. It then crossed over into the westbound lanes and struck four motorcycles. Two people died and four others suffered a variety of injuries. The Tennessee woman driving the SUV on that day was recently sentenced to a total of 17 years in prison on two counts of vehicular homicide and other charges that were part of a plea agreement reached through negotiations between her criminal defense counsel and prosecutors.
If a driver is suspected of driving under the influence in the aftermath of an accident believed to be caused by him or her, additional charges could be filed in conjunction with a DUI. For example, if someone dies in the crash, the allegedly intoxicated driver could be charged with vehicular homicide as well. This appears to be the case in an accident involving a 78-year-old Tennessee man suspected of being impaired at the time of a fatal accident.
Reports indicate that on July 26, 2014 a 44-year-old Tennessee woman was impaired as she drove at a high rate of speed. At some point, there was a crash, and her 40-year-old passenger died of injuries he suffered in the crash. Now, two years later, the woman has been sentenced for vehicular homicide.
Golfing enthusiasts in Tennessee and elsewhere often enjoy a day riding in a golf cart, having a few drinks and conquering the golf course. However, what many people might not realize is that driving around the course while drinking comes with the same penalties as driving on any roadway. If an accident occurs and someone is injured, the driver could face vehicular assault and other charges.
Even though convictions for driving under the influence remain on a person's record, any of them over 10 years old are not allowed to be used in court in Tennessee. This means that an individual who is arrested for DUI now could be treated as a first time offender if it has been at least 10 years since his or her last conviction. It provides people with a second chance of sorts -- that is, unless current charges include vehicular homicide.
Many Tennessee motorists are pressured into complying with law enforcement officials when they are stopped and accused of driving under the influence. They are subjected to breath tests, field sobriety tests and even blood alcohol tests. In reality, you are not required to submit to any testing, and the only agency you should ever voluntarily give blood to is the Red Cross.
When Tennessee law enforcement officials make accusations against a driver in an accident, it is their responsibility to be sure that their facts are correct. Making a mistake could jeopardize the freedom of an individual. This is especially true when that person is facing serious charges such as vehicular homicide in connection with an accident in which it is suspected that alcohol played a factor.