66-year-old Cleaon Stutler Jr. was released on bond on Monday after being arrested for allegedly driving drunk when he collided with a motorcycle on September 19, killing the married couple riding the bike. Stutler has been charged with 28 felonies and misdemeanors for the crash that took the lives of Amy and Peter Jackson, who left five children behind.
The Jacksons were just minutes away from their home in Portage when Stutler allegedly crashed his vehicle into them at the intersection of Highway 20 and Willowcreek Road on Wednesday, September 19. The Jacksons were thrown from their motorcycle and died at the scene.
Stutler has three previous convictions for drunk driving, in 1991, 2010, and 2014. If convicted on all of the new charges, he could face life in prison.
Attorney contributor Jeff Gibson helps drunk driving victims and their families find justice and secure the financial compensation they deserve. Here are some of his thoughts on how the families of fatal DUI crash victims can be helped by the legal system:
Every year in the United States, tens of thousands of innocent people are injured and killed by drunk drivers. These drunk drivers disregard the safety of their communities as a whole when they get behind the wheel while intoxicated, as we all are aware of the dangers of drunk driving. When a family loses a loved one to one of these unexpected accidents, it’s important to make sure they find some sense of justice.
The families of fatal DUI crash victims may have the option to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver. In Indiana and many other states, these families also may have grounds for a “dram shop” lawsuit against an alcohol vendor who provided alcohol to the drunk driver before the crash. In Indiana, alcohol vendors can be held liable for drunk driving injuries and deaths if they provided alcohol to someone who the vendor knew was intoxicated at the time of the sale, and the intoxication was a foreseeable cause of the accident.
While a lawsuit may not ease the grief of losing a loved one, it can at least provide the financial compensation these families need for damages like hospital bills, funeral expenses, loss of financial support, pain and suffering, and more. If you have lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, or if you’ve been injured in one yourself, you can learn more about your family’s legal options by speaking with an experienced DUI victims lawyer.