As auto accident attorneys practicing in the Baltimore area, I and my colleagues have seen the aftermath of some of the worst of Maryland’s car and truck collisions. Traffic accidents can kill and maim the occupants of a passenger in a split second. What is tragic is that many accidents could have been avoided if it weren’t for driver negligence.
A frequent cause of traffic accidents is drunken driving. To some, driving under the influence of alcohol is the height of driver negligence because it is something that should be in every motorist’s control not to get behind the wheel in an intoxicated state. To choose to drink knowing that one will be driving in an impaired condition is at least an irresponsible act, at worst it can be a death sentence to some unknown and unsuspecting victim.
To often it seems, the people whose negligence results in the death of another individual are punished only after the fact, which is cold comfort to the families of the victims. In the conclusion of a rather sad story that began last year, a woman has finally felt the hand of justice following the fatal drinking and driving accident that led to the deaths of two men in 2009.
According to news articles, Kelli R. Loos was sentenced to 10 years, which is at the high end of the state-recommended guidelines for a case of this kind. Loos will likely not serve all that time in jail. According to reports, she will receive credit for the 10 months she has already been held in jail since the accident.
Loos will also be eligible for parole in 20 months because vehicular manslaughter is considered a nonviolent crime under state rules. Add into the equation the state’s good behavior credits which could make Loos eligible for mandatory release in as little as 3 1/2 years.
Last summer, the 33-year-old Loos had rear-ended a pickup truck on the beltway, causing that vehicle to crash through a guardrail and roll down an embankment, landing on its roof 60 feet below. The accident killed 37-year-old Franklin Manzanares and 39-year-old Gradys Mendoza.
Following the crash with the pickup truck, Loos fled the scene and reportedly drove toward Virginia. She crashed her vehicle again while attempting to exit the Beltway onto Georgetown Pike, hitting a highway sign. Not long after that, police took her into custody where she subsequently registered a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.20 percent on a breathalyzer.
At sentencing in drunk driver’s fatal accident, competing pleas for justice, WashingtonPost.com, May 21, 2010