DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — A local trial involving a DUI car accident ended with the jury returning a $200,000 verdict for the plaintiffs — a family that was hit by a person driving under the influence.
“This guy was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana and put everybody at risk and ultimately injured my clients with his reckless conduct,” said Cherry & Irwin associate attorney Cal Whaley.
After a two hour-long deliberation, the jury found in favor with the plaintiffs — something Whaley says accomplished two different goals.
“It’s designed to punish the defendant for the conduct on display and to send a message to deter that kind of conduct from happening with others,” Whaley said.
During the trial, the Dothan Police Department provided expert testimony about the impact of drunk driving in Dothan.
“DUI is not a victimless crime,” sergeant Scott Owens said. “It is something that affects families all over the United States, in Houston county, in Alabama. You never know that that instant may be the one where you happen to take somebody’s life.”
With drinking and driving being an issue in and around the Wiregrass, some residents say they are already taking precautions.
“No matter how good you drive, you’re going to always find somebody that drives probably worse than you drive,” Dothan resident Jerry Clark said. “So you just have to be careful. I mean, you could be the best driver in the world and still get hit.”
The number of DUI arrests in the county has gone down. Police arrested 208 people in 2017 and 170 in 2018.