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I-20 in Augusta

I-20 near mile marker 198 in Augusta, where a man was killed by a suspected drunk driver on September 1.

1 Man Dead, 1 Arrested Following Suspected DUI Crash in Augusta

Police in Augusta arrested one of the drivers involved in a suspected DUI accident on Interstate 20 that left the other driver dead early Saturday morning. Police believe that 27-year-old Jonathan Ewing Butler was drunk when he was driving his 2009 BMW along the highway shortly before 3 a.m. Butler was also allegedly speeding when he crashed into the back of a 2008 Nissan in the same lane of Interstate 20, near mile marker 198.

Both cars veered off the road and into a wooded area after the impact. The driver of the Nissan, who has been identified as 61-year-old Vernon Eugene Faglier, was ejected from the vehicle and died on scene.

Butler was found at fault. He was arrested and charged with Driving too Fast for Conditions, Following too Closely, DUI Alcohol, and Vehicular Homicide 1st Degree.

Legal Recourse For Families Affected by Drunk Driving Accidents in Georgia

Attorney contributor Brian Kent of CrimeVictim.Attorney has offered some input on the legal options available to DUI accident victims and their families:

Every time a drunk driver gets behind the wheel, the other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists he or she encounters that night are in danger of being seriously injured or killed due to that driver’s reckless decision. We all know how dangerous it is to drive drunk, but countless individuals still make the destructive choice to drive while intoxicated every day. When a drunk driver causes an accident that injures or kills others, it’s important for the victims and their families to be aware of their legal options for justice.

In the United States, the victims of drunk drivers often have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. Georgia and most other states also have “dram shop” laws which allow victims injured by drunk drivers (or families of those killed by them) to file lawsuits against alcohol vendors under certain circumstances.

In Georgia, alcohol vendors can be held liable for damages in a drunk driving lawsuit if the vendor:

  • “willfully, knowingly, or unlawfully” serves alcohol to someone under 21 years of age, or
  • “knowingly” serves alcohol to someone who is “noticeably intoxicated”, and
  • the establishment knows that the minor or intoxicated person is planning to drive a motor vehicle soon.

These dram shop laws demand accountability from third parties (like bars, nightclubs, restaurants, etc.) who had a legal obligation to stop serving alcohol to someone who was underage or noticeably intoxicated. Families who are struggling with emotional and financial setbacks due to a drunk driving accident should consider discussing their legal options with an experienced DUI victims lawyer.

Interstate 20 Near Mile Marker 198

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About Joe LaFrance


Joe is a content writer with a focus on the legal field. He covers cases of sexual abuse, drunk driving, and preventable violent crime for the Legal Herald.

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