Gwinnett Police Officer Caused DUI Wreck, Injury

Over Labor Day weekend, I saw police officers out in full force, and I am grateful for their hard work. There’s no telling how many injuries and fatalities they prevented by removing drunk drivers from Georgia highways.

And then there’s Gwinnett County police officer James Stoudenmire, who, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, got drunk at Wild Bill’s dance club on Friday night and rear-ended another car after he left the club early Saturday morning.

Stoudenmire, 27, was driving his Mustang when he rear-ended a Mazda at a stop light. A passenger in the Mazda suffered a leg injury. Luckily, there were no serious injuries or fatalities.

The responding officer noted that Stoudenmire was unsteady during the field sobriety test and had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath.

Stoudenmire, who was off duty at the time, said that he had four drinks at Wild Bill’s starting at 4:00 p.m. on Friday. The accident occurred at 1:15 a.m. on Saturday morning. It appears that Officer Stoudenmire had more than four drinks.

The police report states that he “stumbled and fell against the wall across from the holding cell” as he was being released from jail on a $1,557 bond. He was charged with DUI and following too closely.

Stoudenmire is a four-year veteran of the Gwinnett County Police Department. He was placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation by the department’s Professional Standards Unit.

Do you think that Stoudenmire should be allowed to return to his job as on officer of the law after getting drunk, causing an accident, and injuring another person over Labor Day weekend?

As a police officer, Stoudenmire had to know that Labor Day weekend is one of the deadliest travel times of the year. In a recent press release publicizing Operation Zero Tolerance (OZT) – a crackdown on drunk driving – the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety revealed that there were 1,660 traffic crashes in Georgia during the Labor Day travel period last year. There were 19 deaths and 798 injuries. In 2007, more than 1,000 people were injured in Labor Day travel accidents.

“The sad fact is one-out-of-three of our fatal highway crashes in Georgia each year is caused by impaired drivers. And every one of those tragic alcohol-related deaths is completely preventable!” said Director Bob Dallas of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.

Stoudenmire should have paid attention to the advice in the OZT press release: "Remember to designate a sober driver in advance – before the Labor Day festivities begin." If Stoudenmire had followed that one simple piece of advice, he would have prevented an unnecessary injury.

If you’re injured by a drunk driver or another careless driver, call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule your free consultation. In DUI cases, you may be entitled to punitive damages as well as standard recovery. You may also be able to sue the establishment that served the drunk driver in addition to the driver. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a drunk driver, call MLN Law now at 404-531-9700.