Kentucky Holiday DUI’s

December 18th, 2015 by Attorney Julie Butcher

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and the hap-hap-happiest season of all, according to the classic Andy Williams Christmas song. It’s not so wonderful if you’re drinking and driving and injure yourself or others or are injured by a drunk driver. The holiday cheer flows in December through the New Year’s Eve holiday, often too much at parties, bars and restaurants; and at the end of the night, too many people drive, or try to drive, home.

Around the holidays the Kentucky State Police steps up enforcement of drunk driving laws through their Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign. Unless you think you’ll enjoy the company of EMT’s, emergency department personnel, police officers and prison guards on Christmas (or any other day), if you drink, don’t drive. You also might find yourself in the news for all the wrong reasons.

One Paducah resident, SB, was arrested on Christmas Eve last year. The entire region learned that he was arrested for DUI thanks to local news reports, including WAVE3 News. He was involved in a single-vehicle accident at the intersection of Husbands Road and Jones Road. There were no reports of injuries. He allegedly failed to negotiate a curve, went off the road and struck a tree.

This resident was lucky there were no injuries due to the accident. The Mothers Against Drunk Driving website has stories about families and individuals who were not so lucky.

  • Micheal Anthony Reinhardt was a 16-year-old honor student from Florida. He loved to play video games and spend time with his family and friends. Mike would’ve graduated high school in 2000 and hoped to attend college. Christmas Eve day in 1998, Mike and his friends were in a car, on their way to play pool, when their car was struck by a drunk driver traveling at about 70 mph. Reinhardt’s car was rear ended in the Christmas Eve accident by a vehicle driven by a man whose blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. He had just been kicked out of a bar. Mike’s mother says that since the accident, she has been unable to celebrate Christmas.
  • On Christmas morning in 2007, Denise and Gerard Bassi called their daughter, Melanie, to wish her a Merry Christmas. It was the first time the two had celebrated Christmas away from their three daughters. They were in Florida with Denise’s parents. On their way to dinner, Bassi’s vehicle, with Denise’s parents also inside, was stopped at a traffic light when a 34-year-old man driving at a very high rate of speed smashed into the rear of their truck (“like a missile into a building” according to one witness). Gerard died at the scene of the Christmas car accident, Denise died in surgery a few hours later, her mother a week later due to her injuries and her father survived with permanent injuries. The man who hit them survived without major injuries and was found to be driving under the influence of alcohol, Xanax and cocaine.

If you’re driving over the holidays, drive sober. It’s not worth it to have a few drinks then risk your future, and the future of others, by driving. If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident involving a drunk driver and suffered injuries, we may be able to help you obtain compensation. Contact our office today to learn more.