Robert R. Hart, Jr., Attorney at Law
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Man sentenced in fatal drunk driving crash apologizes in court

An Ohio court handed down the maximum sentence of six years in prison and lifelong loss of driving privileges to an East Palestine man convicted of causing a fatal wreck and leaving the scene. He offered a brief apology to the judge in the Lisbon courtroom prior to receiving his sentence.

His sentence emerged from his guilty pleas on seven criminal charges that included aggravated vehicular homicide. He had been 18 at the time of the crash in spring 2016 when, according to investigators, he drunkenly drove off the road in Unity Township. His vehicle went through a ditch, struck a tree and flipped over. A young man in the passenger seat did not survive, and another young man in the back seat suffered serious injuries that continue to trouble him.

The driver fled the scene and did not inform authorities about the accident. The parents of the 18-year-old who died spoke during the sentencing hearing. The mother criticized him for leaving her son to die in the dark. The father said that the abandonment robbed him of the chance to say goodbye to his son.

Although this case represents a serious crash that involved a fatal injury, anyone arrested for drunk driving faces serious consequences if a conviction is obtained. Reaching out to an attorney could help a person understand the consequences of a conviction. An attorney could prepare a defense which in some cases could include a challenge to the traffic stop as not being made with the requisite reasonable suspicion on the part of the law enforcement authorities involved.

Source: WKBN, "East Palestine teen gets max sentence for fatal drunk-driving crash", Cameron O'Brien, Feb. 1, 2018

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