Man Gets 12 Years for Fatal Drunk Driving Traffic Accident that Killed Retired Maryland Couple

When it comes to automobile, truck and motorcycle accidents, negligence comes in many different forms. Whether a minor fender-bender or a full-blown fatal traffic collision, the responsible party should be held accountable for his or her actions. For those individuals who have caused the death of another person, no excuse should be acceptable; not to the family of the victims, nor to local law enforcement.

Drunk driving is certainly one of the more common causes of car crashes in the Baltimore area and elsewhere across our state. It’s a shame that so many people die every year due to abuse of alcohol. As Maryland car accident attorneys, I and my colleagues consider the pain and suffering of the families of victims, not to mention the costs and lost income caused by a bad automobile wreck.

A sad story caught our attention the other day involving a retired Maryland couple who died in a pointless out-of-state car crash. According to the news article, 56-year-old Thomas Cypress was charged with DUI manslaughter for the February 2009 crash that claimed the lives of Robert and Paulette Kirkpatrick. Following his trial in a Miami-Dade courtroom, Cypress was sentenced to 12 years in prison — a negotiated deal that spared the man a possible maximum 30-year sentence.

Courtroom testimony indicated that Cypress’ blood-alcohol level was triple the legal limit in February 2009 when he veered his truck into the opposing lane hitting the Kirkpatrick’s rental car head-on. According to news reports the couple, who were also grandparents to several young children, was in the area for an art show and vacation.

Police said that Cypress was driving on a suspended driver’s license (a result of a previous drunken driving charge). Prior to that, he had been arrested by police on two separate occasions for DWI.

Once his 12-year sentence is up, Cypress will be required to go into an alcohol rehabilitation program, serving 10 additional years of probation and agree never to drive a motor vehicle again. Apparently as part of the deal, Cypress must pay $120,000 to the Kirkpatricks’ family in order to fund a scholarship in the victims’ names. According to reports, the survivors signed off on the deal.

Deadly driver Thomas Cypress sentenced to 12 years,, July 1, 2010

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