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Dorchester man pleads not guilty to drunk driving charges

Losing a loved one in a fatal car accident is a tragedy. When a driver is accused of causing the accident because of driving drunk, the tragedy often seems compounded. Drunk drivers are a hazard to other drivers and anyone else in the vicinity. If police suspect that a driver's intoxication caused a fatal accident, the driver can be charged with a crime, and the families of the victims have a good basis to seek compensation for wrongful death.

Just earlier this month, a 46-year-old Dorchester man pled not guilty to charges of motor vehicle homicide while drunk, operating a vehicle to endanger and speeding. The charges stemmed from a fatal car crash that also happened this month.

The police report states that the driver was operating his pickup truck on William T. Morrissey Boulevard at 12:30 a.m. when he struck a 63-year-old male cyclist who was riding a bicycle. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver remained at the scene to help the victim. He admitted drinking one alcoholic beverage before driving. The driver was transported to Boston Medical Center where he retained a lawyer, preventing further questioning by the officer on the scene. The officer made numerous physical observations of the driver's movements and speech patterns that seemed to support a higher level of intoxication than would be typical after one drink.

Another officer determined that the driver was going 50 mph in a 30 mph zone. He also noted that there were no signs on the roadway of the driver having braked.

Drunk drivers sometimes try to lie about their level of intoxication at the time of an accident for fear of the consequences. More needs to be done to protect cyclists from drunk drivers who don't pay attention.

Source: The Boston Globe, "Dorchester man charged in crash that killed bicyclist on Morrissey Boulevard," Brian Ballou and John R. Ellement, Sept. 17, 2012

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