Three cyclists hit by drunk driver, father dies in hospital

Parents were out with their child one evening for a bike ride, a typical family activity for fun and exercise. The mother and father had their 15-month-old son in a bike seat, behind Dad. The driver who hit them was found to have a blood alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit.

There was an off-duty police officer behind the truck that rammed into the family; he witnessed the driver swerve across oncoming traffic while making no attempts to correct his trajectory or to apply his brakes. The officer estimated the driver’s speed to be about 35 miles per hour.

After the man hit the cyclists, his truck carried on, crashing into another truck parked at the curb, pushing it into a local building. The 2005 Ford F-150 driver was charged with aggravated criminal operating under the influence and manslaughter.

Police discovered a small cooler in the rear of the man’s truck, which contained an unopened can of beer. His driving record revealed he had at least two prior convictions for operating under the influence. The driver refused to allow police to take a blood sample until a warrant was produced. The driver indicated to officers he had an asthma attack that caused him to pass out as the result of a coughing fit.

The man’s bail was set at $100,000, with the proviso that should he be able to make bail, he is banned from driving, must not have car keys on his person, use/abuse drugs or alcohol, or frequent licensed beverage establishments. He must also comply with random testing and searches.

Although the details of this case may leave some questions unanswered, a father is dead, a 15-month old boy is in hospital in critical condition, and a family has been destroyed. Life is too valuable to run the risk of killing or seriously injuring another. Think before you drink.

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