On Wednesday in Prescott, Arizona, a man was sentenced to 14.5 years in prison after being convicted of charges relating to a highway auto accident in which a woman was seriously injured.
According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, on May 16, 2009, 64-year-old Hersum was operating his vehicle when he crossed the center median and smashed into a pickup truck head-on.
The 19-year-old female driver of the pickup sustained serious injuries, and she was transported by helicopter to a Phoenix hospital.
A third vehicle was also struck, the driver receiving minor injuries.
According to police, at the time of the crash, Hersum had a .241 blood alcohol content level. This amount of consumption is inconsistent with the six witnesses who testified on Hersum's behalf, stating that he was not a drinker, and had just made a terrible mistake the night of the crash.
At the Yavapai County Superior Court proceedings however, Hersum described himself as a "binge drinker" and talked of his history of alcohol abuse.
Superior Court Judge Celé Hancock stated during the trial:
"There is certainly a large disconnect between the letters and what these (witnesses) said about Mr. Hershum and what he himself said at the (trial). I do not believe you are a bad person. But you were living a double life at the time...You were obviously hiding some of this because nobody here thinks you were a drinker, but you yourself told us in great detail [about the kinds and sizes of drinks he made himself."
Judge Hancock then sentenced Hershum to 14.5 years in prison.
Hershum's attorney indicated that they would be filing an appeal immediately.
As a Phoenix accident attorney, you see these kinds of devastating crashes, and when impairment is an issue, the damage is likely to be even greater.
Some may think it is unfair to sentence someone to years in prison, even though they did not kill anyone. The fact is that if you make the decision to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, you are making a choice that endangers the health and safety of the others on the road. This is why drivers can get charged and convicted of assault, manslaughter, and even murder in certain situations.
Our Arizona accident law firm will keep you updated throughout the appeal process.