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Tennessee jury awards $9 million in drunk driving case

A Tennessee woman has been awarded one of the biggest jury awards in the state's history for injuries that she suffered in a 2008 drunk driving car accident. The woman was 18-years-old and a student at Ooltewah High School when the 29-year-old man's car drifted into oncoming traffic and hit her car.

According to a press release from the woman's attorney, the driver of the other car had consumed a half of a bottle of Southern Comfort within a 30 minute period and got into his car 10 minutes later to drive down Mountain View Road. He passed out while he was driving which cause his car to drift into the other lane. The accident resulted in his third DUI charge as well as a vehicular assault charge to which he plead guilty.

Although the award is quite large, the accident victim says that she knows that it is unlikely that the driver will ever be able to pay even a fraction. She said that she hopes that the large award will help serve as a deterrent for potential drunk drivers in Tennessee and will encourage people to think twice before getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.

She suffered from serious injuries to her foot and still suffers from ongoing problems. She has had multiple surgeries and years of physical therapy to try to repair the damage. She told reporters that friends and family members need to step in and prevent people they know from driving drunk. Even strangers who spot a potentially dangerous situation should intervene.

Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press, "Woman hopes hefty award will deter drunk driving," Todd South, June 22, 2012.

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