Every decision an individual makes has potential consequences. When that decision is to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking, the consequences can be deadly. One Wisconsin man discovered at his sentencing hearing just how much his poor decision to drink and drive has affected — and will affect — the people he hurt in the car accident that he caused.

Two people died in the crash — including the driver’s wife — and several more suffered serious injuries. Sometimes, however, it is not just the physical injuries that continue to plague car crash victims and their families. One of the injured victims is an autistic boy whose parents have to assure him every day that he is no longer in any danger. The father of the other victim is haunted by visions of his daughter in pain and crying as her life slipped away.

No amount of prison time or apologies can fix these and other lasting effects — both physical and emotional — of the crash. Nevertheless, the Wisconsin man pleaded no contest to charges of homicide (one count) and injury (two counts) by vehicle while intoxicated. The judge rejected a two-year jail sentence and instead sentenced the man to a two-year prison term, with another four years of extended supervision.

The families affected by this tragic car accident also retain the right to file civil actions against the driver. The outcome of the criminal proceedings may provide them with additional proof of his negligence, which is a necessary element a personal injury or wrongful death claim. If negligence is proved to the satisfaction of a civil court, an award of damages could be made, which could help alleviate the financial burdens placed on the victims when the driver decided drive after drinking.

Source: chippewa.com, “Larson gets prison for double fatality crash“, Rod Stetzer, May 31, 2014