A 21-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico has been sentenced to three years in jail for the fatal crash in Dayton, MD, last March that killed two of his passengers and injured a third. According to news reports, one factor in the court’s decision was the man’s 0.09 blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the car accident, which was just over the legal limit in Maryland. Other factors, such as an ice- and snow-covered roadway was not considered important. Once the man’s sentence is completed, it is likely he will be deportation back to his home country.
This case shows that courts have very little patience for anyone who has been drinking and driving, even “a little.” As a law firm that represents automobile accident victims and their families, Lebowitz-Mzhen, LLC fights hard for its clients. In this instance, the defense tried to argue that weather conditions were the cause of the accident, however the other facts were more important to the court, such as the use of alcohol and the resulting deaths.
According to court documents, the defendant, Jose Algomeda-Santiago of Mount Airy, was driving a Volkswagen Jetta northbound on a snow- and ice-covered Route 32 shortly before 4 a.m. on March 1 when he lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle spun into the southbound lane, where it was hit from the rear by a Dodge truck. Gilberto Garcia Vasquez, 26, of Westminster, the right rear passenger, was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The right-front passenger, 21-year-old Victor Gutierrez-Almeida, died later at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore from injuries sustained in the collision. A third passenger, Gonzalo Gutierrez-Molina, 25, survived the collision. The defendant, Jose Algomeda-Santiago of Mount Airy pleaded guilty to two counts of negligent homicide while under the influence of alcohol.
The judge in the case declined to add probation to the sentence, noting that Algomeda-Santiago would likely be taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials once his sentence was up and probably deported back to Mexico.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an automobile accident, either as a passenger or as a pedestrian, I highly recommend that you seek the services of an experienced accident and personal injury attorney who can help you to understand your rights as a victim of such an accident.
Driver gets 3 years for crash that killed two passengers, ExploreHoward.com, July 13, 2009