A tragic Mississippi motorcycle accident that took place back in July of 2011 has left one man dead and his wife injured and searching for justice. The accident victim, Jeri Smith, said that she’s very frustrated by the legal system since the fatal accident happened more than a year ago.
Even now, Smith can barely walk after the serious injuries inflicted on her in the accident. The man she says is responsible, Adam Etlicher, has spent only one night in jail despite blood tests which found hydrocodone and cocaine in his system. Further upsetting is that he was barely injured in the wreck and so far has only paid a $151 fine.
It took prosecutors more than a year to bring the case forward, finally handing it over to a grand jury. Despite this movement, no justice has yet been done. The results of the grand jury have not yet been released and Smith is anxious that the case finally moves forward.
Many have complained about how slow the case is progressing, especially given how long ago the deadly accident took place. The district attorney said that while he would not comment on the specifics of the case, the way impaired driving cases typically work is that two things must be proven. First, you have to prove that the driver was actually impaired at the time of the accident. The second thing the prosecution must prove is that there was an act of negligence that took place. The grand jury must be convinced of both elements before charges can be pressed against the intoxicated driver.
The district attorney revealed that just because drugs were in a suspect’s system does not mean that the driver was necessarily impaired. Instead, tests must be done and the level of drugs must rise to a certain level before intoxication can be said to exist. If no indictment is issued by the grand jury then charges cannot be filed again unless new evidence comes to light. Thankfully, a civil suit by the victim can move forward without waiting on the criminal charges.
No matter what the specific level of cocaine that was found in the driver’s blood turns out to be, it goes without saying that someone with hydrocodone and cocaine in their system has no place on the road. The two incredibly powerful drugs can impair your judgment, dull your senses and slow your reflexes. It’s impossible for someone to be under the influence of both drugs at the same time and be considered a safe driver.
Source: “Controversial Mississippi DUI Case Still Mystery For Victim,” by April Thompson, published at WREG.com.
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