Before being arrested for drunk driving, the average impaired driver has driven while intoxicated an average of 80 times. While police catch a majority of these drivers before they can get into an accident, someone is killed in an alcohol-related crash every 51 minutes, or as many as 27 people per day. Further, someone is injured in a drunk driving crash every two minutes in the United States. While fatalities make up a small percentage of drunk-driving crashes in California, prosecutors tend to treat drunk driving fatalities very seriously. If a person has previous DUI convictions and drives drunk and kills someone, they may face a murder charge.
The Mercury News reports on a man who was just recently convicted of four counts of murder in a DUI crash.
48-year-old Fred Lowe had five previous drunken driving convictions when he got behind the wheel after 13 drinks. Witnesses then reported that Lowe was having difficulty keeping the Mercedes he was driving in his lane. He crossed over several lanes of traffic and hit an SUV, pinning it against the center median. The vehicle then flipped over the median and into oncoming traffic.
Inside the SUV were five people: 50-year-old Daryl Horn, 14-year-old Joe Horn, 52-year-old Troy Biddle, 13-year-old Baden Biddle, and the driver, Jared Horn. Jared Horn was the only survivor.
Prosecutors charged Lowe with four counts of murder, arguing that due to his previous DUI conviction history, he understood driving drunk may kill someone.
Lowe’s lawyer argued that there was no definitive proof that Lowe was behind the wheel of the Mercedes and that Lowe had no way of knowing that killing someone was the “natural and probable” outcome of driving while intoxicated.