Officers with the Pennsylvania State Police arrested 40-year-old James Miller Sr. following a hit-and-run crash on East Avenue on Friday, September 28. Authorities responded to reports of an accident on the 400 block of East Avenue shortly after 7 p.m. Upon arrival, officers found a Toyota Matrix with Maryland tags which had rolled onto the driver’s side, with the driver trapped inside.
Emergency responders stabilized the vehicle and entered through the roof in order to rescue the woman. She was brought to Meritus Hospital in Hagerstown, Maryland for evaluation of serious bodily injuries.
State Troopers followed a trail of vehicle fluid from the scene of the accident to a driveway on Skyline Drive. Officers then found a Chevrolet Blazer with severe front-end damage, along with a deployed airbag on the driver’s side. They also found several containers of alcoholic beverages on the floor of the front passenger seat.
James Miller Sr. was the only person at the home. Officers gave him two blood alcohol concentration tests, which read .31 percent and .26 percent – far over the legal limit of .08.
Miller has been charged with one felony – accidents involving injury while not properly licensed. He also faces several misdemeanors, including first-time driving under the influence, first-time DUI with highest blood alcohol rate and accident involving damage to an attended vehicle, along with eight traffic violations. He is currently being held in Franklin County Jail and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for 8:15 a.m. on October 9 in Franklin County Central Court.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent helps the victims of drunk drivers recover the financial compensation they deserve. We have asked him to add some thoughts on liability for drunk driving accidents in Pennsylvania:
When a negligent driver causes an accident, those who are injured often decide to file personal injury lawsuits against the driver. In cases involving drunk driving, Pennsylvania and many other states also allow these injured victims to file “dram shop” lawsuits against the business that sold or provided alcohol to the drunk driver before their crash, depending on specific circumstances. DUI accident victims can also sue social hosts for providing alcohol to minors under age 21.
According to Pennsylvania’s dram shop laws, alcohol vendors can be held liable for injuries suffered in alcohol-related accidents if the vendor sold or provided alcohol to the intoxicated person when he or she was already “visibly intoxicated.” Additionally, any alcohol sale that violates the state’s liquor code is considered negligence and can result in liability for the alcohol vendor.
If you or someone you love has recently been hit by a drunk driver, you can learn more about your legal options by speaking to an experienced DUI accident victim lawyer.