Any driver who knowingly gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle — be it a passenger car, shuttle bus, or semi tractor-trailer rig — and operates that vehicle under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs, or illegal substances is taking not only risking their own life and that of their passengers, but also is putting the lives of other motorists in jeopardy as well.
Being auto accident attorneys here in Baltimore, as well as personal injury lawyers for Maryland and the District, we understand the frustration, pain and anger that victims of car accidents and their families feel following a senseless traffic collision. As citizens and drivers, we all have a responsibility to operate our family cars, motorcycles, company vehicles and commercial trucks in a safe and legal manner — if not for ourselves and the safety of our family, at least for those innocent occupants in other vehicles.
According to news reports, a Washington, D.C., driver was convicted in connection with a fatal automobile crash last year, which killed a 37-year-old Mary Wimbush and injured the woman’s four children. Based on court reports, a D.C. jury heard the case in which 35-year-old Ajene Jones said he remembered buying PCP-laced cigarettes on April 19, 2010, before getting into his Dodge Ram truck and heading south along a stretch of Alabama Avenue SE.
Police reports showed that the man apparently veered across the centerline and into the path of Wimbush’s oncoming Toyota Camry. Jones reportedly told the court that the next thing he remembered was regaining consciousness in the rear of ambulance. Based on news reports, local prosecutors said that the man was high on that illicit drug when his vehicle collided with the woman’s sedan.
Court records showed that Jones’ truck was going 52mph in a 25mph speed zone. The resulting collision caused Wimbush’s Toyota to spin 180 degrees; apparently the vehicle was so badly damaged that it took emergency responders almost an hour to cut the woman out of the car. She died as a result of the violent crash, while her children all suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Court records indicate that Jones was convicted on a single count of vehicular manslaughter, as well as two counts of aggravated assault. That conviction came as a result of an Alford plea — meaning the defendant did not admit to any guilt, while at the same time acknowledging that the state had sufficient evidence to convict him.
The plea included an agreement from the prosecutor’s office to drop a number of other charges against Jones and not to press for more than 20 years behind bars. Nevertheless, the judge in the case, Thomas Motley, made it clear to the defendant that even though the state had agreed to a 20-year maximum sentence, he could still rule that Jones serve as much as 50 years in jail for the manslaughter and aggravated assault charges.
Man convicted in fatal D.C. crash, WashingtonPost.com, January 8, 2011