When most people in Tennessee think of the term "viral video," they probably think of a short clip of cute animals, or maybe a funny music video or slapstick prank. They probably don't think of someone confessing to have killed a person in a drunk driving accident.
About two million people have watched a video posted recently by a 22-year-old man who said he drunkenly drove the wrong way on a highway and crashed into another car, killing its driver. According to state documents indicting the man, his blood alcohol level was greater than twice the legal limit at the time of the crash.
In the video, the man claims he will plead guilty and face full responsibility for his actions. He even states that he knows that his video confession will give the prosecution everything it needs to put him behind bars for a long time. However, at a plea hearing held a little more than a week after the video was posted, the man pleaded not guilty. His lawyer said he was pleading not guilty for technical reasons, and would plead guilty later.
The criminal justice system has an important role to play after a drunk driver injures or kills someone else on the road. However, its technicalities and unpredictable qualities can often leave the victims of drunk driving accidents and their families feeling a distinct lack of justice. It also often does little or nothing to ease the heavy financial burdens placed upon them in the wake of a terrible accident.
When someone is injured or killed in an accident caused by another person's negligence, the injured or their families may be compensated for damages through a personal injury lawsuit. Drivers act negligently when they fail to exercise the same level of care that a reasonable person would under similar circumstances, and someone else is injured as a result. Driving while drunk is solid evidence that can be used to show negligence and help victims and their families claim compensation for their losses.
Source: NBC News, "Despite viral video confession, Ohio man pleads not guilty to DUI charge," Sophia Rosenbaum, Sept. 11, 2013