Early this morning a mother of two was killed on I-20 in Atlanta a drunk driving going the wrong way crashed into her vehicle. Police say that the wrong-way driver appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.
The wreck happened at approximately 3:30 a.m. on I-20 eastbound near the Langhorn Street exit, according to WSB-TV. Police said that Robert Ayiteyfio, the suspect, was driving his Toyota Camry westbound in the eastbound lanes of I-20. Near the Langhorn Street ext, Ayiteyfio’s Camry collided with a Ford Taurus driven by the victim, Shameyka Welch, 24, of Austell.
Another adult and two children were in the car with Welch. The two children were taken to Egleston Children’s Hospital and are in stable condition. The other passenger is also in stable condition. Welch died at Grady Memorial Hospital.
An off-duty police officer spotted the wrong-way driver and called for back-up before the crash actually happened. The suspect fled on foot while he was being questioned by an Atlanta Police Department DUI Task Force officer, but he was apprehended. Ayiteyfio was checked by emergency medical workers and charged with DUI, homicide by vehicle,, and driving he wrong way before being taken to Fulton County Jail.
A reader on wsbtv.com commented on the story, “Few states have figured out what to do with drunk drivers. Do taxpayers foot the bill for years of incarceration, or do we tap these killers on the wrist and let them keep driving to do it again and again?”
I believe that Georgia is on the right track when it comes to punishing drunk drivers. In Georgia, a victim or victim’s family can sue a drunk driver not only for monetary damages but also for punitive damages. In other words, a victim of a drunk driver can seek to punish the drunk driver. Normally, punitive damages in Georgia are capped at $250,000, but they can be unlimited for drunk driver victims. The victim of a drunk driver may also file suit against a restaurant, liquor store, or other establishment that served alcohol to an intoxicated individual. Georgia certainly does not tap drunk drivers on the wrist. Our state also has several DUI courts in which convicted drunk drivers receive treatment for alcoholism. Research shows that DUI courts reduce rates of recidivism for drunk drivers.
Still, Georgia has a relatively high rate of DUI accidents. According to MADD, nearly 30 percent of Georgia’s fatal traffic accidents in 2008 involved drunk drivers. The word “accident” is a bit of misnomer. All intoxicated drivers make a choice to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. That’s not an accident. Victims can help to reduce the rate of drunk driving by aggressively pursuing offenders in the court of law.
Have you been the victim of a drunk driver? If so, contact a attorney as soon as possible. Time is of the essence. Call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation.