Due to an increase in public safety campaigns and the efforts of law enforcement, the general public is more aware of the potential dangers involved with drunk driving then they have ever been. Unfortunately, some drivers continue to be unwilling or unable to avoid taking the risk. The recidivism rate among those convicted of prior DUI offenses is high, putting other drivers at risk for serious and potentially life threatening drunk driving car accidents and injuries. A recent case involving a Portland man who was a repeat DUI offender highlights the potential dangers these drivers pose to others on the road.
Portland Man Convicted of Deadly DUI Accident Was a Repeat Offender
In early February 2018, Oregon Live reported that a Portland man was sentenced to prison for 14 years due to a DUI-related car accident that left one construction worker dead and two others injured. The accident occurred last May, when the driver reached speeds of over 70 miles per hour in a construction zone in Happy Valley.
The driver, 52-year-old Fedot Tsopko, first struck a flagger who attempted to get him to stop, before striking two other workers, one of whom died at the scene. Tsopko ended up traveling an additional 200 yards before crashing and rolling his vehicle. While his injuries were not life threatening, emergency crews had to work to pull him from the wreckage. Tsopko eventually pleaded guilty to six criminal counts of assault, vehicular homicide, and driving under the influence of intoxicants. As it turns out, he had a criminal history of three other DUI charges in Multnomah County dating back to the 1990s. In addition to his time in prison, officials permanently revoked his driving privileges.
Repeat DUI Offenders Wreak Havoc On Road
According to fact sheets from the American Automobile Association (AAA), roughly 10,000 people are killed as the result of DUI-related accidents each year, representing over 30 percent of all traffic fatalities. Drivers involved in these accidents who had a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit of .08 percent were more than seven times more likely to have had at least one prior DUI offense.
The AAA reports that roughly one quarter of the more than one million drivers arrested each year for driving under the influence are repeat offenders. Recidivism rates are high despite the potential consequences these drivers face. In Oregon, in addition to heavy fines, mandatory community service, and attendance at drug and alcohol education classes, drivers convicted of DUI also face the loss of their license and a potential prison sentence. Repeat offenders may be required to use ignition interlock devices, which prevent them from operating a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol present in their systems.
Contact Us Today for Help
DUI-related car accidents end up resulting in serious and often life threatening injuries. If you have been impacted by this reckless actions of a drunk driver, call (503) 546-3167 or contact the Johnston Law Firm online and request a consultation to see how our Portland car accident attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve.