Updated on: 2/5/2019
A woman is in a medically-induced coma after she was hit on her bicycle by driver with a long history of driving under the influence, police say.
The incident occurred Friday evening on Rainier Avenue North in Renton.
The 24-year-old Renton woman was struck from behind by a reckless driver. The woman has severe brain trauma, internal bleeding and several broken bones.
Police arrested 44-year-old Vern Henderson. Police say Henderson was high on PCP and pain killers when he struck the woman.
Long Criminal History for DUI Driver
Henderson has an extensive criminal history, having been arrested more than 20 times. He has four DUI convictions, including two in the past 10 years. He is also awaiting trial for a DUI arrest from December 2017, which would be his fifth.
Friday’s arrest would be his sixth DUI if convicted.
KOMO News explains the Washington law regarding repeat DUI offenders:
“...a person’s fourth DUI conviction within 10 years should be a felony. But even if Henderson is convicted for the 2017 incident — giving him three convictions within 10 years — the King County’s Prosecutor’s Office tells KOMO they still cannot charge him with Felony DUI for last week’s crash (even though it would mark his fourth within 10 years). That’s because, by law, a person has to be convicted of their third DUI before committing their fourth to be charged with Felony DUI, according to the prosecutor.”
Henderson will likely be charged with felony vehicular assault in connection with Friday’s incident.
Repeat DUI Offenders
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the average recidivism rate (likelihood for a repeat DUI) was about 25 percent in 2011. That’s a drop from about 33 percent in 1995.
But it’s important to remember that those numbers do not reflect the actual number of impaired drivers on the road each day. MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) estimates that every day there are more than 300,000 people on the roads who drive while drunk. Sadly, just over 1 percent of those people are arrested.
Contact a DUI Victim Rights Attorney
Impaired drivers who cause drunk driving accidents may face both criminal and civil court proceedings.
- Criminal proceedings are designed to punish the offender for breaking the law and to protect the public by acting as a deterrent against impaired driving. Driving drunk can result in criminal prosecution even if there was no accident and/or no one was injured.
- Civil proceedings against an impaired driver typically come in the form of a claim or lawsuit against the drunk driver for injuries caused by the drunk driving collision. Fatal drunk driving crashes can result in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of the victim. In many cases a civil suit may be the only way to recover damages such as medical treatment costs, lost wages, damaged property, other economic damages and pain and suffering.
It's important to note that the criminal and civil sides of the legal system are completely separate and have no impact on one another. If you hire Davis Law Group to represent you after a collision with a drunk driver, the basis of our representing you is with regard to the civil personal injury claim.
For a free case evaluation, contact the award-winning Seattle car accident attorneys at Davis Law Group today at (206) 727-4000.