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Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on October 15th, 2012,
by Zane Cagle

Hit and Run Kills Pagedale Child, Persistent DUI Offender Charged

Posted on October 15th, 2012 by Zane Cagle

Hit and Run Kills Pagedale Child, Persistent DUI Offender ChargedA 4 year old is dead, with his 10 year old brother in serious condition, in Pagedale in St. Louis County, Missouri after being struck crossing the street in a hit and run, according to KSDK.  The boys were being watched by their grandfather while their mother was at work.  The grandfather was making chili for the kids when they went across the street to a store to grab some crackers and some candy.  They were struck by a 2001 Chevy Silverado, which was found at the suspect’s home.  The suspect has been charged with several crimes, including second-degree murder.

This tragedy is doubly sad because this driver has a long history of run-ins with the police involving drinking and driving.  In fact, this was not the suspect’s first fatal car crash.  The Post-Dispatch reports that, in 1983, this driver allegedly ran a red light and struck a vehicle, killing two passengers in the other vehicle and injuring two others.  One of the injured remembers hearing police suspected alcohol was involved, but no charges were ever filed.  This would be a pattern for the suspect of being suspected of driving while intoxicated, but often receiving a slap on the wrist or no charges at all.

As a Missouri car accident attorney, I think this suspect provides an interesting look at how DWI arrests can fall through the cracks, and the way habitual offenders skirt the law and continue driving.  This suspect has been arrested 150 times in the past 30 years, including 11 arrests for DWI.  He has not had a driver’s license or car insurance since 1993, yet has continued to drive the entire time.  On at least two occasions, officers reported seeing the suspect either toss a beer can out the window or pour a beer out before being pulled over.  In total, the suspect was convicted on six separate occasions but spent less than two years in jail.  Had prosecutors sought the maximum allowable penalty for this suspect and charged him as a persistent offender, he could have spent 15 years in jail for each felony count if convicted.

Persistent offenders such as this alleged suspect are over-represented in alcohol-related car crashes.  Studies show that persistent offenders are far more likely to cause serious car crashes than first-time offenders.  As such, the law is attempting to catch up to these offenders, and Missouri is no exception.  Now, persistent offenders are required to install an interlock on their car, which forces the user to blow into a breathalyzer to start the vehicle.  The interlock also requires the user to periodically blow as he or she drives, ensuring that the driver remains alcohol free.  This also ensures that the driver cannot have someone else blow in order to get around this requirement.   In this way, states hope to reduce the ability of persistent offenders to drive while impaired.  As a Missouri car accident attorney, I applaud these steps to keep people safe.

All of us at The Cagle Law Firm extend our condolences to the family of the young child killed in this accident.  Our Missouri car accident attorneys have represented many clients injured by drunk drivers, so we know first-hand how devastating these accidents can be.  Wrongful deaths, such as the one suffered by this child, require skilled, experienced attorneys who can make sure the victim’s family is fairly compensated for their terrible loss.  As well, serious injuries such as paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, and other catastrophic injuries require the same level of skill and experience.  If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a drunk driver in Missouri, Illinois, or Kentucky, contact Zane T. Cagle and the Missouri car accident attorneys at The Cagle Law Firm today.  Call 1.800.685.3302 for a free consultation.