A Mississippi man has been charged with aggravated driving under the influence in connection with a motor vehicle accident in Hinds County during the early morning hours of Oct. 3 that claimed the life of a television executive. The 18-year-old Brandon resident was released from custody after posting a bond in the amount of $250,000 according to local media reports. Aggravated DUI carries a custodial sentence of between five and 25 years. Offenders convicted of aggravated DUI are also required to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles and face driver’s license suspensions of up to five years.
The accident took place on Interstate 20 near the Gallatin Street exit in Jackson at approximately 4:00 a.m. Jackson Police Department officers arriving at the scene determined that a white sedan driven by the man had struck a black SUV. The SUV caught fire after being struck.
Bystanders try to help
An Uber driver who saw the events unfold pulled over and tried to help along with his two passengers. The bystanders tried to pull the 43-year-old man inside the SUV to safety, but they were unable to do so because of the extreme heat and flames. It was later learned that the victim was a TV director who had worked at a Jackson area news station for 16 years.
Drunk driving defenses
Accidents like this one are usually investigated thoroughly by the police, and their findings may sometimes be used to mount a defense against aggravated DUI charges. Experienced criminal defense attorneys could argue that a less serious charge is warranted if police reports indicate that fatal accidents were caused by factors other than intoxication. Other factors that could cause a deadly crash include negligence on the part of the other driver involved or a third party, debris in the roadway and missing signs or defective traffic signals.