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Billings, Montana, woman sentenced in drunken fatal car accident

Drunk driving convictions here in Billings, Montana, can result in serious consequences. A lengthy jail term, as well as fines, probation and suspension of driving privileges, is likely to await those at fault for negligence. These facts were recently illustrated by the case of a 23-year-old woman who injured several people in a head-on drunken driving car accident.

According to sources, the woman, a mother of two, was recently remanded to the Department of Corrections and received a total of 15 years in jail for injuring 10 people in 2011. She pleaded guilty in May to five counts of felony negligence that resulted in vehicular assault. She also admitted to two counts of misdemeanors and a count of driving without insurance.

In 2011, driving a Jeep Cherokee, she ignored a stop sign and struck a Pontiac G6 sedan that was carrying several local teenagers. The collision was so bad that many of them had to be extricated from the vehicle by emergency responders. The injuries sustained by the teenagers were so serious that it changed many of their once-promising lives forever.

Three hours after the accident, investigators found that the suspect's blood-alcohol level was 0.110 percent, which is well beyond the legal limit of 0.08. It was also discovered that she was out with her mother drinking alcohol at a local bar prior to the accident and had been involved in another alcohol-related car accident just a week before. Officers found empty alcohol containers inside the vehicle. Some of the passengers in the Jeep were said to be too drunk to recall what happened that night.

Montana has tough drunk driving laws. Those with multiple drunk driving charges in the past can be charged with a felony, while those who have physically hurt or killed others may be charged with vehicular assault or homicide. Each of these charges can result in severe punishments.

Victims of drunk drivers, meanwhile, may be eligible to seek financial compensation from the drunk driver in order to help pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to their injuries. Personal injury or wrongful death claims can help these victims and their families on the road to recovery, at least from a financial perspective.

Source: Billings Gazette," Billings woman sentenced for drunken car crash that hurt 10," Tom Lutey, Aug. 13, 2013

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