Former surgeon guilty in fatal Carolina drunk driving car accident

The verdict is in – and a former Carolina plastic surgeon has been found guilty of killing a young woman in a fatal drunk driving accident.

WRAL reported that after 11 hours of deliberations over three days, jurors found a 44-year-old former facial plastic surgeon guilty of involuntary manslaughter, driving while impaired and felony death by motor vehicle.
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Our personal injury lawyers in Raleigh, Charlotte and Winston-Salem recently reported on this case on our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog.

Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III handed down the maximum sentence allowed for the felony death by motor vehicle charge. This will send the defendant to prison for 36 to 53 months. Prosecutors argued during the sentencing hearing that the sentence should be increased due to the fact that the defendant had a previous DWI and speeding arrest in Georgia, twenty years ago, where he pleaded no contest.

The crash occurred back in September of 2009 when the defendant, coming home from an afternoon of golfing at the Raleigh Country Club, slammed into the back of the 20-year-old victims’ Hyundai Elantra. The victim, who died from her injuries, was an aspiring ballerina and a member of the Carolina Ballet.

The defendant had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .24, which is triple the legal limit. Witnesses stated he was traveling at speeds in excess of 75 mph in the 45-mph speed zone prior to the crash.

Some members of the jury were upset that they all couldn’t agree on the second-degree murder charge. Two of the jurors felt that the prosecutors did not prove that the defendant acted with malice. Others might argue that anyone that drinks enough alcohol to have a BAC three times the legal limit, drives their vehicle well over twice the posted speed limit, and runs through an intersection, is acting in a malicious manner.

In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported of the 1,314 fatal North Carolina car crashes, 430 were alcohol related.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, contact our personal injury lawyers in Hickory, Charlotte, Raleigh and Greensboro. Call Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965.

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