You’re a little buzzed but you decide to get behind the wheel anyway. What’s the worst that can happen right? When most people have this mindset their worst-case scenario involves getting pulled over and charged with a DUI but doesn’t involve possible injury or death. Unfortunately, serious consequences like injury and death go up significantly after every drink you have, and we don’t have to look far to see the real life consequences for DUI.
That’s the real outcome for a 40-year old Iowa man, who could now spend the rest of his life in prison due to the consequences of driving under the influence.
Nicholas Windsor Anderson of Des Moines, Iowa was recently convicted by an Iowa jury of four counts of vehicular manslaughter, one count of vehicular assault, and one count of reckless driving. The counts come piggybacked with a driving-under the influence charge.
In October of 2014, Anderson was driving himself and 5 other passengers down an Iowa road at a high rate of speed until Anderson lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle went off the road and through a ditch before smashing into a tree and three utility boxes. The violent crash killed four of the passengers in the vehicle and injured a fifth.
The exact sentence was statement-making 592 months plus 364 days and was issued by King County Superior Court Judge Cheryl Carey.
The quasi-life sentence comes as more states continue to crack down on driving under the influence. Colorado recently put into practice an automatic felony sentence for anyone convicted of their fourth or more DUI, and Florida lawmakers are considering legislation that would see mandatory breathalyzer-ignition devices installed on the vehicles of the first-time offenders.
In another bold statement, the state of Utah recently lowered its DUI blood alcohol content (BAC) threshold from the nationwide standard of .08 to .05.
The good news across the country is that DUI rates have been steadily declining 1982 though there were still over 10,000 alcohol related traffic fatalities in 2015. If the decline is the result of harsher penalties, safer vehicles, or better judgment is a difficult statistic to determine.