Utah drivers understand the dangers of driving after consuming alcohol or illegal drugs. However, people may not consider that prescription drugs can cause the same impairment while driving. Driving under the influence of drugs, even prescription drugs, could lead to an accident involving serious injuries and even death.
Unfortunately, one driver in Utah came to this realization the hard way. After taking prescription medication, she got into her car and drove. She ended up slamming into a woman and her six-year-old daughter as they were crossing the street.
Regrettably, the young girl did not survive. Her mother suffered a brain injury and her legs and pelvis were broken. The driver was arrested and charged in connection with the accident. The woman faced up to 10 years in prison, and the victim’s mother asked the court to sentence her to a prison term equal to her daughter’s exact age at the time she died. Instead, the woman will serve no more than five years in prison.
Many people fail to heed the warnings that come with prescription medication. Medications affect each patient differently and the warnings may not apply to everyone. After all, a doctor would not intentionally put a patient in danger by prescribing him or her medication that could put lives at risk.
The woman who hit this mother and daughter may not have realized she was impaired when she got behind the wheel. Ordinarily law-abiding citizens may not consider themselves driving under the influence of drugs while on prescription medication. This is one reason judges have latitude when it comes to imposing sentences. The circumstances surrounding every accident are unique, and those charged with crimes in connection with an accident have the right to present mitigating circumstances that could affect the outcome of the case.
Source: sltrib.com, Utah woman gets prison for killing 6-year-old in crosswalk, Marissa Lang, Dec. 16, 2013