Drunk Driving: DUI Crash In Berkeley County, West Virginia

The Washington Post is reporting that a Winchester man was arrested after driving drunk on New Year’s Day and causing a crash in Berkeley County, West Virginia.  The wreck occurred on Interstate 81 southbound in Berkeley County.  Cody Wade Braithwaite of Winchester was charged with DUI involving death, fleeing DUI, and being a prohibited person in possession of  a firearm and a fugitive from justice.

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department reports that a Sheriff’s Deputy was investigating a call about a reckless driver and attempted to stop Braithwaite when Braithwaite sped up and then hit a car and pushed that vehicle into a guardrail.  The driver of the other vehicle was killed in the collision.

Virginia Is Worse Than West Virginia For Drunk Driving Fatalities

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that Virginia fares worse than West Virginia when it comes to fatalities caused by drunk drivers.  Recently, Virginia reported 806 traffic-related fatalities with 246 of those accidents being caused by drinking and driving.  That’s 30 of all fatal accidents being caused by alcohol!  In West Virginia, fortunately, the numbers were much lower with a total of 290 fatal accidents and 72 of them being alcohol related.  West Virginia’s alcohol-related crash ratio is around 25%.

Drunk Driving Is A Serious Crime

Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while drunk is a serious crime.  Even drinking a small amount of alcohol and then driving can often lead to dangerous situations.  Driving under the influence of alcohol, also known as DUI, involves operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent.

While some drivers may not notice warning signs of being under the influence after drinking, that doesn’t make drinking and driving any less dangerous.  In fact, any amount of alcohol in the bloodstream can impact a person’s driving ability.  To drive safely on our roadways, you need the ability to concentrate, make good judgments, and react quickly to situations you might encounter.  Alcohol, however, slows a person’s reaction time and puts the well-being of the drunk driver as well as others in jeopardy.

Alcohol can impair a driver’s ability by:

  1.  Slowing reaction time
  2.  Affecting coordination
  3.  Reducing the ability to concentrate
  4.  Decreasing vision
  5.  Inhibiting judgment

Talk with a Car Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one suffered injuries at the hands of a drunk driver, the Ritchie Law Firm is here to help.  The experienced, certified attorneys at the Ritchie Law Firm has helped thousands of injured victims and their families recover the compensation they deserve after an accident. Contact us by phone at 800-277-6124 or by using our online contact form.

How Long Can I Wait to Call a Lawyer?

When you’re injured in an auto accident in Virginia or West Virginia, you must be aware of the statute of limitations which applies in your particular case. The statute of limitations refers to the time you have following an accident to file a lawsuit.  In both West Virginia and Virginia, this time limit depends upon the circumstances of your accident and injury.  The time limitation starts to run on the date of the accident.  Filing a claim with an insurance company does not extend or delay the time.

The longer you wait to contact an attorney, the greater the risk that the statute of limitations time limit will expire. If it does, you may lose your right to sue the at-fault party and recover compensation for your injuries. If you’ve been seriously injured and someone else is at fault, you should contact a personal injury attorney at the earliest possible time.  Contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer early in your case will help prevent deadlines from expiring and will allow your case to be properly prepared.

To be able to determine whether you have a case, your lawyer needs to thoroughly investigate the details about your accident and injuries. Investigating the accident and collecting information is much easier if it occurs quickly after the accident has happened. A time delay can result in many problems like lost evidence and witnesses who can’t be found.

When you hire a lawyer to handle your car accident claim, he or she will first negotiate with the insurance company to try to settle your claim. If settlement negotiations break down, your attorney will prepare to file a lawsuit and prepare your case for trial. For this reason, it is especially important that you get an experienced lawyer to help with your case, such as one certified through the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

Ritchie Law Firm is a personal injury law firm devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence. Ritchie Law Firm serves all of Virginia, while helping clients in cities and surrounding areas of Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Staunton, and Winchester also serves clients in West Virginia, including Martinsburg, WV.

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