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Driver facing DWI charges after allegedly striking building

In some cases, a drunk-driving death does not even have to happen on the road.

One man in Maryland's neighboring state of Pennsylvania has found himself in legal hot water after he allegedly plowed into the side of a building. This may not have been such a serious problem if the owner of the building had not been in the way of the man's vehicle. The victim in this alleged driving under the influence case died in late October as he slept on a cot in his converted blacksmith shop.

Authorities report that the driver, age 31, is facing charges of negligent homicide, intoxicated manslaughter and making a false statement to police officers. He has been released on a $150,000 bond. Officials say that the man and his friend, both of whom had been drinking before the crash, fled the site of the wreck and sought assistance at a nearby home. They claimed that the vehicle had been stolen, so officers began a search. They found the vehicle embedded in the front bay door of the Martin Wagner blacksmith shop, having plowed through the victim's living quarters and killing him instantly.

The driver admitted to consuming a significant amount of alcohol on the day of the crash, having about 15 beers while at work and at a nearby bar. The man reportedly got lost and was unable to find his friend's house, where he was staying. Interestingly, the accident was actually caused by a previous event. The driver in the case struck a deer, which sent the vehicle careening into the nearby building. Police officers said the deer was found more than 260 feet away from the point at which it was hit. The man may have been speeding, based on investigators' research. The driver has been convicted of drunk driving charges in the past.

In this case, it is not clear how authorities determined that the man was behind the wheel of the reportedly stolen car. Criminal defendants have a right to a fair trial that will determine their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is not enough evidence to substantiate the claim that the man was driving, he should be acquitted. Qualified criminal defense attorneys can help those facing DUI charges to learn more about their legal options, especially in cases with questionable evidence.

Source: MyEasternShoreMD.com, "Police: driver was drunk at time of fatal crash" Trish McGee, Dec. 11, 2013

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