Last week the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that a Lawrenceville man showed no emotion as he appeared in court to face charges of driving drunk and killing a young mother.
Constantine Toncz, 39, was granted a $46,000 cash bond by a Gwinnett County Magistrate Court judge.
According to relatives, the victim, 25-year-old Sabrina Stanek, was hit by a speeding vehicle after she walked outside to flag down the driver. She wanted the driver to slow down because she was trying to protect her children from the speeding vehicle in her Lawrenceville neighborhood. While Stanek was standing at the curb in front of her house, the driver lost control of his vehicle while driving around a sharp curve. The vehicle hit Stanek and then hit her boyfriend’s parked truck.
The driver did not stop to try and help Stanek. He abandoned his truck and walked to a family member’s house down the street. Police arrested Toncz at the same house later that night and charged him with vehicular homicide.
Toncz, a construction worker from Romania, had been arrested three other times in Gwinnett County since 1993, and he was out of jail on bond for felony theft when the accident occurred.
Stanek’s father, Mark Stanek, said that his daughter was an “awesome mom.” The grieving father also said, “The father in me says let me shoot him or let me run him over, but the Christian in me says two wrongs don’t make a right.”
Stanek’s parents are filing for custody of her children, ages 4 and 6.
Neighbors are not surprised that Stanek was trying to protect her children by slowing down a speeding driver. They said that speeding cars are a constant problem on Belmont Lane in the Village Gate subdivision.
Neighbor Christy Hill, 31, lives across the street from the Stanek residence and said that she no longer feels safe walking in the neighborhood. There are no speed bumps, and police officers are a rare sight, she said.
Hill also said, “She came out to tell him to stop speeding before he hit and killed someone, and then he hit and killed her. This has got to stop.”
Unfortunately, drunk driving fatalities won’t stop. Thousands of people die in alcohol-related auto accidents each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk driving accounts for over 30 percent of all traffic fatalities, and an alcohol-related crash kills someone every 40 minutes in the United States.
If you’ve lost a loved one because of a drunk driver, or if you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. At MLN Law, we aggressively pursue claims against drunk drivers as well as the bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and liquor stores that improperly serve them.
The justice system cannot heal the injured or bring a loved one back to life, but it can provide a means of recovery for victims. If you are a victim, you can sue a drunk driver for negligence and also seek punitive damages. Punitive damages exist to punish irresponsible behavior like driving under the influence or hit-and-run behavior such as the alleged behavior exhibited by Toncz.
If you’ve been the victim of a drunk driver, call MLN Law at (404) 531-9700 to schedule your free consultation.