As a Missouri drunk driving accident attorney, I’ve written here before about the sad case of Christine Miller, a Sunset Hills police officer who is accused of causing a fatal DUI crash. Miller was off duty when she allegedly drove drunk on the wrong side of the road, causing a head-on crash that killed four people and severely injured a fifth. Miller, and a bar that allegedly over-served her, settled a wrongful death lawsuit in April with the surviving victim and the others’ families. She is also criminally charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of assault. As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Dec. 10, Miller pleaded guilty to those charges the day before. At her sentencing in March, she could receive sentences ranging from probation to 67 years in prison.
The crash injured Nitesh Adusumilli, 27, of Balwin, Mo.; and killed Anusha Anumolu, 23, Anita Lakshmi Veerapaneni, 23, Priya Muppavarapu, 22 — all of Charleston, Ill., and Satya Subhakar Chinta, 25, of Aurora, Ill. All of the victims were Indian nationals in the United States to work or study, and Veerapaneni and Adusumilli were engaged to be married. They were heading home from bowling and dinner out when Adusumilli made a legal right turn and crashed head-on into Miller, who was driving the wrong way. Forty-five minutes after the crash, Miller had a blood-alcohol level of 0.229. Miller was hospitalized in critical condition right after the crash, and her defense attorney said she couldn’t remember it. In court, a prosecutor said a receipt in Miller’s purse showed she’d had five drinks the night of the crash. She has been on unpaid suspension with the Sunset Hills police department since the incident, and city officials expect to discuss her employment status soon.
As a St. Louis DUI crash lawyer, I hope this sad story encourages drivers in the region to think twice before driving drunk this holiday season. Because of drunk driving, four young people lost their lives in a country far from home, where their families couldn’t be with them — representatives of the St. Louis Indian community rushed to the hospital instead. Miller and Adusumilli are likely suffering from permanent injuries, not to mention other personal losses. This case is somewhat unusual, in that the victims have successfully pursued a drunk driving lawsuit long before Miller could be criminally convicted, and in fact before she even pleaded guilty. That fact, and the guilty plea, suggests that the evidence against Miller is very strong. The compensation won by the victims can never reverse the accident, of course, but as the article notes, it has helped them deal with the aftereffects, such as the cost of bringing the bodies back to India.
Carey, Danis & Lowe represents victims of serious accidents caused by someone else’s negligence behind the wheel. That certainly includes accidents caused by the negligent choice to drink and drive. By now, everyone on Missouri and Illinois roads — especially police officers — understands that driving while intoxicated significantly raises the risk of a serious car crash. When drivers choose to do it anyway and the innocent people around them are seriously hurt, our southern Illinois intoxicated driving accident attorneys help those victims seek fair financial compensation. The cost of treating someone with serious injuries, like Adusumilli, can easily reach six figures, especially when head injuries or severe burns are involved. Suing the drunk driver, and his or her insurance company, allows victims to return those costs to the irresponsible person who caused them.
Carey, Danis & Lowe offers free, confidential case evaluations, so you risk nothing by speaking to us about your rights and your case. To set up a meeting, send us a message online or call 1-877-678-3400 today.