'It's not fair,' father says of DUI crash that killed his 3-year-old son

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  • Mormonmama0106 Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 5, 2014 9:20 a.m.

    Drunk drivers need to go to jail, period. Taking away their license isn't good enough. I know more than one person who continues to drive on a suspended or revoked license. They don't care and they all think "it won't happen to me".

    I agree with those who say drunk drivers should be charged with attempted murder. There is no excuse for drinking and driving. The message has been out there long enough. No one can claim ignorance. Drive while intoxicated or under the influence? You know darn well you could kill someone, therefore you are already guilty of attempted murder!

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Jan. 29, 2014 2:20 p.m.

    My suggestion is to make automobile Homocide alcohol related to be at least a second degree felony with the possibility of upgrading to a first degree felony.

    The 4000 (or more) pound vehicle is every bit as lethal a weapon as a gun or a knife. Use of a gun or a knife can go up to a capitol felony (death penalty).

    Being drunk and driving impaired in my mind rises up to the culpability standard that first degree felonies have.

    I'm sick of drunk drivers getting off lightly because the prosecutors don't want to deal with them so they plea bargan most to "alcohol related" reckless driving, which doesn't exist in the statue.

  • Kathy Chadwell Lafayette, IN
    Jan. 29, 2014 11:39 a.m.

    My heart and prayers go out to the father & the family.
    I am & have been a proud member of MADD. Nobody should have to go through this.
    This is my only fear about them legalizing pot. I worry about those who will get behind the wheel of a car.

  • Rikitikitavi Cardston, Alberta
    Jan. 28, 2014 5:36 p.m.

    I am FOR stiffer penalties but we taxpayers will pay the incarceration costs. Mandate some form of public service might work better.

  • moniker lewinsky Taylorsville, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 3:44 p.m.

    This is a very sad story. But not everybody who drinks drives afterward. I rarely even drink away from home.
    Suggesting that we tax alcohol more will not help. I understand that we all get upset reading about these things, but talking about capital punishment for people who get DUIs will not help either. This "off with their head!" mentality is not the solution.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Jan. 28, 2014 2:21 p.m.

    My sincere condolences to the family. No, it's not fair. We can argue all we want over what the laws and consequences for drunk drivers should be, and for the most part, little will change.

    Personally I wonder why certain products are banned from the market because they MIGHT cause cancer in some test animals, but alcohol, which is known to kill thousands every year remains at fairly easy access because their would be a greater outcry if the FDA banned it.

    The fact is, little else short of time and the comfort of the Spirit will do much in this case. We are truly sorry.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 2:21 p.m.

    The toughest drunk riving laws in the world are useless until you catch someone in the act. That means more officers on the road. Hire another 50 to 100 UHP troopers. When drivers realize they have a high probability of getting caught there will be reduction in driving under the influence and reckless driving. I have seen drivers do things that are criminal in nature and they should go to jail for it.

  • esodije ALBUQUERQUE, NM
    Jan. 28, 2014 1:39 p.m.

    In tort law, they have something called the "eggshell skull" rule, which basically says you take your victim as you find him, and even though you couldn't have known that he was particularly susceptible to injury (or death), you're still liable for all of his damages. I've long thought they need a similar rule in criminal law, saying that whether or not you could reasonably have contemplated killing someone when you got drunk and chose to drive, the penalty for doing so will be commensurate with the consequences. Many legal scholars would call that capricious, but how much ~more~ capricious is the outcome for the victim and his family?

  • brotherJonathan SLC, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 12:46 p.m.

    Your loss is for as long as you live, faith in God is hope of being together again one day. With that truth said: if this was the drivers 1st DUI, it is hard to prevent behaviors that have not been seen by the courts before. If it is not the 1st time, this shows that a consistent fair method of prevention is not in place for our society. Once a DUI is adjudicated a simple personal mechanism should be used to prevent further lapses in judgment by the offender. Often if the offender is wealthy or powerful, use of that power gets them special treatment so society does not get equality under all laws. Which we must share for the fair and just treatment of all citizens. If a judge's power to negate fair punishment of an offender is not spelled out in the law, the use of punishment can be unfairly dished out to the rich or powerful with different treatment for poor or minority groups by mercy on the wealthy or elite grouping of citizen. Carefully written laws so fair use of judicial power to all citizens equal in the eyes of justice dispensed.

  • andersonj Syracuse, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 11:10 a.m.

    My father was hit by a Drunk Driver in 1998 and I have helped provided for my parents since. This is a real issue and has effected me personally.

    Why don't we have enough guts to follow what Mayor Rudy Giuliani did in the 90's? He cut drunk driving incidents down by 70% by passing a new law that if you were caught driving drunk, whatever vehicle you were driving was the property of the state. It didn't matter if you owned it or not. It was now the states. The state then sold those cars off at auction and it became a significant source of revenue for a short time before the drunkards wised up and realized that it was tough getting to work on foot.

    Simple, easy, and effective. Why won't we do this? Because of the Banker's lobby? Make this hurt and no one will want to be caught driving drunk. Jails are too crowded. Plus we end up just feeding them. Make them be responsible instead of locking them up.

  • Sasha Pachev Provo, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 10:45 a.m.

    DUI should lose the drinking privilege, not the driving one. The offender still needs to get to work somehow. But he demonstrated that he cannot drink responsibly, if there is even such a thing, so take alcohol away from him. Can you reasonably expect somebody who is drunk to have the judgement not to get behind the wheel? Alcohol sales at the very least should be controlled like gun sales.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 10:45 a.m.

    The other newspaper is confirming(yes, confirming, NOT speculating) that this person should not have even been in the country in the first place.

    When will we start cracking down on DUI's and his other offense seriously?

    How many deaths will it take?

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 10:06 a.m.

    Mr. Smitty:

    Unfortunately fatalities from drunk driving have many contributing factors including 1) access to alcohol/drugs 2) propensity to use 3) personal choice/responsibility 4) percentage of drinkers using private vehicles vs public transportation, etc. 5) the rate of average speed, number of intersections, distance from bar-to-home, etc.

    Less access will lower the number of DUIs and fatalities. So will a lower propensity to use (which is why public awareness campaigns are important) and/or use in moderation will also lower DUIs and fatalities. The increased use of public transportation, designated drivers, taxis, etc. will also reduce DUIs and fatalities. Finally, New York and Utah are poor comparisons given the higher average speed limits, great miles traveled, etc in the West compared to densely populated cities in the East (while distance from the bar/establishment could be reduced by adding more bars, the increased access would likely more than offset the lessor miles traveled, so that solution is not a reasonable one).

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 9:54 a.m.

    Re: "Killing will continue until society severely punishes the misuse of alcohol . . . ."

    Actually, it'll continue until we punish those clear-thinking captains of industry that profit so handsomely from supplying the substances that are known and intended to deprive customers of their will and wisdom.

    Ever more draconian DUI sanctions on the low-level hit-men, on those who actually commit these heinous crimes, leave free and untouched the people of the venal, brutish "hospitality" industry -- including brewers, distillers, and distributors -- who are the real authors and profiteers of the carnage.

    It amounts to ambulance-in-the-valley, rather than the fence-on-the-cliff thinking.

    Assuring that those profiteering from enabling and encouraging this carnage become responsible for it can only be accomplished by expanding the reach of Utah's toothless dram-shop laws.

    You'll be surprised how quickly the problem is solved once an entrepreneurial self-interest is introduced into the system.

    Now, if we can only convince conniving legislators to place the interests of voters and constituents ahead of well-heeled campaign contributors in the "hospitality" industry.

    Well, we can dream, anyway.

  • Makethemhonest Orem, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 9:51 a.m.

    It is important to know if this drunk was also illegally in the country. It is important. He has killed a child.

  • speed66 Heber City, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 9:21 a.m.

    I lost both my aunt and uncle to two different drunk drivers. While I appreciate the emotional response does anyone think that tougher laws would have averted this tragedy?

    @Reflectere wants to make alcohol use illegal...we tried that and the criminals got rich. Where are my small government friends who realize that you can't legislate this away?

    Will we outlaw use of cell phones in cars? The death rates from these is skyrocketing?

    We have to educate people. We have to quit glorifying bad behavior. I wonder if anyone who saw the man driving erratically made a call to the police before the accident?

    This particular situation is particularly egregious because the perpetrator seems to have contemplated escaping the scene...a drunk and a coward. But let's not over-react or think that the solutions to a complex problem can be fixed with tough talk and draconian laws.

  • Sneaky Jimmy Bay Area, CA
    Jan. 28, 2014 9:08 a.m.

    The fact is that if a person has a DUI that person is more likely to continue to drive under the influence. A single DUI conviction rarely cures anyone. Killing will continue until society severely punishes the misuse of alcohol, drugs and firearms.

  • azamatbagatov Lehi, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 9:00 a.m.

    First, anyone convicted of DUI should not be allowed to own a vehicle, rent a vehicle period. There should be a national list that car dealerships and rental car companies would use to see if a customer is on the list. Anyone caught selling a vehicle or renting a vehicle to an offender would be subject to a hefty fine. This includes friends who let a drunk friend take their car. It should also

    Second, anyone who injures someone while driving intoxicated should be charged with attempted murder. Anyone who kills someone while intoxicated should be charged with first degree murder.

  • JayTee Sandy, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    No, it's NOT fair. We spend hundreds of billions of dollars in the "war on drugs," trying to legislate morality and protect people from themselves. We try to control the size of drinks, who can dispense, etc., etc. Yet, we can't seem to get the drunks or other impaired drivers OFF the roads. We have one state agency distributing alcohol, and another attempting to get them off the roads. But still, probably largely because most lawmakers do drink, we still play patty-cake with drunk drivers. Insane. If penalties are substantial enough, this wouldn't be happening often, and when it did happen, it would only happen one time to any given driver.

  • Cougrrr Beaufort, SC
    Jan. 28, 2014 8:36 a.m.

    @Mr. Smitty
    Can't compare New York to Utah. People use public transportation much more in New York, where costs to drive and park in the city are prohibitive. In other words, people don't drive in New York because it's easier on their pocketbooks or is more convenient, not because they are somehow more responsible than people in Utah.

  • Tilka PORTLAND, OR
    Jan. 28, 2014 8:32 a.m.

    what about some more details that everyone is wondering about. Did the driver have a license? Is he here legally? Was the car he was driving registered to him?

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 7:28 a.m.

    IMO impaired driving needs some incarceration as a mandatory result. I can be 48 to 72 hours in the county jail or other designated impaired driving holding area. The vehicle should be impounded if owned by the driver, if by someone else, investigation why the owner permitted the driver to drive.

    Dram shop laws need to provide victims and families access financially to the establishments who sell alcohol to the impaired driver. This would include hospitality industry.

    Injury or death needs significant incarceration time.

    Substance abuse may be a disease or illness but it is not society's responsibility to bear the cost of treatment. Recidivism is high and "cure" or better said future abstinence is problematic.

    Accidents, unplanned events, will always happen. Mitigation, driving impaired, is the problem and should be addressed.

    The public needs to feel a sense that justice toward the victim is being served, too often the legal system treats the perpetrator as a victim and ignores the maimed or killed.

    We haven't discussed the legal status of the driver have we? What if the driver has a driving privilege card instead of a license? Maybe the legislature could look into that can of worms.

  • wazzup Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 7:09 a.m.

    Revoking licenses or 'privileges' does NOT prevent the driver from driving! Take away their cars AND licenses. You can bet your friends wouldn't allow you to drive their cars after a night out of drinking. Or wake up in the morning to realize that your car is gonzo.

    We would take away a person's guns.....take away their 'instrument' of destruction. Yes, they could borrow or buy another car. Odds are no one would let them borrow their car or it would cost them money they don't have.

    That is part of the solution. Definitely it isn't legalizing drugs. Alcohol is here to stay, unfortunately.

    10,000 deaths per year because of drunk drivers is unacceptable. But we as a society don't focus or do enough to address this issue.

  • Casey See FLOWER MOUND, TX
    Jan. 28, 2014 6:27 a.m.

    This article hurts at so many levels. I used to agree that anyone DUI and kill someone should be locked up. Then I met a family whose husband in his younger days did drink alot. He got sober and remained that way for 15 years. One day at work, some collegues thought it would be fun to give him some Hard Ike Lemonade, and get the "Mormon" drunk. While driving home, he took a turn a little wide and hit another driver and killed him. When the police arrived they gave him a breathalizer test and he measured just over the legal limit for alchohol. He spent the next 10 years in jail and his family was bankrupt.

    The judge threw the book at him because of his prior history even though it had been 15 years. He didn't even know that his co-workers had given him spiked lemonade. They got off scott free. I am all for tough sentencing, but there has to be some ability to take into account all facts.

  • uwishtoo MESA, AZ
    Jan. 28, 2014 5:55 a.m.

    The simple truth of this issue is that the law can take away their licenses and revoke all privileges and they will still find a way to drink and drive. The ONLY way to stop them is to toss them in jail, period. No bail, put them in jail and leave them there. My second to the oldest daughter is still alive but she will never be the same, brain damage, broken bones that have taken many surgeries to fix, 9 months in a coma, hospital then nursing home. Waist length hair ripped from her scalp when it got tangled in the seat belt as her vehicle rolled end over end 3 times and it bounced her like a rag doll. Drunk driving is sheer stupidity and selfishness. Call a friend, call a cab, walk home, do whatever you have to not to have things like this happen.

    Then to add insult to injury here this drunk tried to blend into the crowd in an effort to escape?

    Lock him up, give the father of this child the key and let HIM decide when to let him out. NEVER

  • Mr. Smitty Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 5:46 a.m.


    Do not blame the hospitality industry. Blame the individual. New York has a lower rate of drunk driving related deaths than Utah, and we know a far higher percentage of people in New York drink. Keep in mind that drunk driving related death rates of plummeted during the past decade, and it has nothing to do with decreased drinking. Furthermore, let's not forget that even we were to outlaw alcohol, people would still drink.

    Blame individuals, not alcohol policies.

  • EnglishAlan Rugeley, Staffs
    Jan. 28, 2014 5:27 a.m.

    My heart goes out to this young family. The loss of a child is always an awful experience, but the loss of such a wonderful little boy in such circumstances is beyond comprehension. As a grandfather of children of the same age, I am devastated for them.

    That the driver tried to "...blend in..." shows the sad state that mankind has arrived at. It is so typical of the "avoid blame at all costs" society we live in. I have had folks damage my cars in car parks, and drive away, which is a form of theft in my eyes. "Damage something, drive away, and leave someone else to pay" is so prevalent. The decline of moral standards is everywhere, and becoming almost acceptable as the norm.

    I hope that the immediate and extended family can gain comfort in the fact that one day they will see and hold their loved one again. It does not diminish the immediate feeling of loss, but the Comforter can be a great boon in time. God bless you. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • panamadesnews Lindon, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 1:34 a.m.

    I doubt the perp will get out of this. He probably will not have the $'s that a "good" attorney would charge to get him off or plea bargain. Hate to say it, but money talks.

    I pray that Heavenly Father will comfort this family and they will receive a witness that their son is with Him.

  • optic yellow Ogden, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 11:35 p.m.

    If you are pulled over and found in violation of the state's DUI laws you should be charged with "2nd degree attempted murder."

    If death has resulted because of your actions... remove the word attempted.

    Put up a sign going into and out of every bar, and in any location where alcohol can be purchased simply stating "DUI = 2nd degree attempted murder"

    Or add too all the manufacturers posters/ads/messages "Please Enjoy Responsibly"...AND DON'T TRY TO KILL ANYONE!

    Think before you drink, don't drink before you drive!

  • AZ Blue & Red Gilbert, AZ
    Jan. 27, 2014 10:35 p.m.

    Drive drunk go to prison. Not jail and not a fine.
    Drive drunk kill someone go to prison longer.

    Instead of holding a gun they are holding a 4000 pound car. Both are deadly. Both can kill and both need not be used when drinking.

    We send people to prison for shooting at people why not driving cars? A deadly weapon is a deadly weapon.

  • Reflectere Utah, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 10:33 p.m.

    Tougher laws will do nothing to prevent DUI's from occurring. Alaska has some of the toughest DUI laws in the nation and still remains on the top of the list for DUI incidents. We need to stop addressing the symptoms and start tackling the real issue - the legalization of alcohol and other drugs in America. They should all be illegal and banned. Too bad States and the Feds make too much Money off the corporate empires destroying this nation.

  • BCA Murrieta, CA
    Jan. 27, 2014 10:16 p.m.

    The first time you get caught DUI is not the first time you have driven drunk. I don't have the answers, but it needs to be considered more of a crime than a mistake.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 8:41 p.m.

    An unfortunate counterargument for the legislature to "modernize" Utah liquor laws. When alcohol and hospitality interests are placed above the good of the community, this will not diminish.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 8:25 p.m.

    Alcohol should be taxed at a much higher rate and the money given to victims of DUI. NO plea bargaining ought to be allowed if someone is killed as a result of DUI.

    We need TOUGHER laws, TOUGHER judges, TOUGHER prosecutors, and an END to DUI's all together. There is no such thing as responsible drinking and then driving....in ANY amount of booze.

    Many the Legislature could do something about this. But then again.....

  • Utah wannabe Sequim, WA
    Jan. 27, 2014 8:01 p.m.

    This is SO very, very sad. Little Zane looks like the sweetest little boy - so bright-eyed and happy.

    I believe the law should change such that anyone caught DUI/DWI is convicted of attempted murder, regardless if there is an associated accident. All drivers need to understand that getting behind the wheel while under the influence is attempted murder because they are not in control.

    My heart is heavy for Zane's family.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 27, 2014 7:22 p.m.

    First time DUI should be mandatory loss of license (no way out) for a year or two accompanied by a month or so in jail. Next time the license is lost. Period. You can reapply after 5 years with certain provisions and you get to spend a full year in jail. Third time - lots of jail time and you never get to reapply for a license. Ever.

  • Kathy. Iowa, Iowa
    Jan. 27, 2014 6:44 p.m.

    When people are no longer rewarded for fleeing the scene but punished harshly they won't try and flee the scene or blend in as they tried this time.

  • Oh My Heck! Vernal, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 6:17 p.m.

    So sorry for your loss. He is so cute! I have grandsons this age, and can not even imagine losing them this way. Hugs and prayers.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 6:11 p.m.

    Re: "It's not fair"

    No, it's not. But we'd better get used to more and more of it.

    The "hospitality" industry continues its assault on the reasonable alcohol restrictions that make Utah a little safer than other places, and the marijuana industry is closing in on us from 3 sides.

    It's just a matter of time -- and, not much time, at that, if poison purveyors have their way with venal Utah legislators -- before drugged and drunk operators will be a common fixture on our roads, trails, and waterways.

    Their carnage is already WAY too high. But they'll continue to insist we owe them more and more of our innocent children's lives.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Jan. 27, 2014 5:52 p.m.

    This is so tragic and unnecessary.Anyone convicted of drunk driving should have permanent revocation of his/her driving privileges. Some countries have this law and there is almost no drunk driving in these countries.

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 5:37 p.m.

    DUI should be no future driving priviledge and mandatory prison time. DUI homocide should be a capital offense. We've excused drunk (drug) driving far too long. Consequences are not severe enough.