As a southern Illinois car accident attorney, I was saddened to read about the outcome of a trial for an Air Force enlistee accused of drunk, reckless driving and speeding in the death of another airman. Airman First Class Kevin Books, 20, was found guilty of multiple counts at a court martial at Scott Air Force Base, outside Belleville, Ill. Books was accused of being under the influence and speeding when he crashed a car on Interstate 64 in Fairview Heights last summer. The crash killed Airman First Class Jamarrio Beathea, 21, of Elkhart, Ind. Books and two other airmen were not seriously hurt. Books will serve 18 months of confinement, as well as being demoted, discharged without honor and losing his pay.
According to the article, Books had a blood-alcohol level between 0.109 and 0.137 percent at the time of the June 2010 crash. Authorities said he was also speeding at over 100 mph when he tried to exit I-64 at Route 159. When he couldn’t make a turn fast enough, his vehicle careened off the exit ramp and into an embankment, flipping several times. All four of the airmen in the car were wearing seatbelts, but only Beathea was badly injured. After the St. Clair County prosecutor handed the case over to the Air Force, Books pleaded guilty to underage drinking. The court-martial also found him guilty of negligent homicide, drunken driving and reckless operation of a vehicle resulting in injury to others.
This kind of story is always disappointing and saddening to me as a St. Louis car accident lawyer. Drunk driving is responsible for roughly a third of all fatal auto accidents, according to federal statistics, and all of those accidents are completely preventable. Because of bad judgment by Books, his own military career and a very young man’s life are both over. And because I work with families of drunk driving victims every day, I know that the sad consequences often go further. If Beathea had a family to support, for example, his death could be financially catastrophic for them as well as emotionally catastrophic. Prison time may serve justice, but families in that situation must file a lawsuit in order to reclaim any of the financial support they lost with the death,
At Carey, Danis & Lowe, we help victims of drunk driving and their families claim these kinds of financial and personal losses through civil litigation against the driver and his or her insurance company. Suing can’t bring back a lost loved one, unfortunately, but it can help families make ends meet and ensure that victims with serious injuries get the medical care they need. It can also serve justice, whether or not prosecutors choose to charge the driver with a crime. Our Missouri auto accident attorneys guide clients through the process of making a car accident claim, from first steps like preserving evidence to the end of a trial or settlement. Our goal is always to make sure clients get the best possible financial recovery for their own situations.
If you were involved in a car crash that was not your fault, and you’d like to know more about your legal options, you should call Carey, Danis & Lowe today. For a free, confidential evaluation of your case, you can reach us at 1-877-678-3400 or send us an email today.