A Houston man was sentenced to 55 years in prison after he killed a Houston police officer in a drunk-driving accident. According to reports, the driver had a blood-alcohol level of three times the legal limit when he sped past a police roadblock in May 2011. Any car accident involving drunk-driving could result in criminal as well as civil penalties against the driver and any other liable individuals or entities.
At the time of the accident the officer and other law enforcement officials were investigating a motorcycle crash and had closed down the highway. A police camera recorded the accident and played the footage for the jury, showing the defendant's Volkswagen striking the officer, severing his legs and killing him instantly.
Prosecutors in the case were hoping that the defendant would receive a life sentence, but also believe that justice was served in this case. In this case, the officer left behind a wife and three children, including child who was born shortly after his death. The defense attorneys requested that the jury also consider the defendant's prior history and lack of criminal record, requesting only 15 to 25 years.
The defendant was brought to the United States illegally when he was 8. His father disappeared under mysterious circumstances and was found murdered months later. He has been deported from the United States twice.
This is a tragic drinking and driving case that resulted in the fatality of a dedicated father and police officer. In such cases, private investigations can determine the cause of the accident, holding all individuals or entities accountable. It was not reported whether the family will be pursuing a wrongful death claim; however, they may be entitled to significant compensation, for medical bills, funeral expenses, lost future wages, as well as additional personal and financial losses.
Source: KHOU, "Drunk-driving illegal immigrant sentenced to 55 years for killing Houston cop," June 8, 2012.