Most Missouri residents understand that he state has placed specific limits on the level of alcohol that a person is allowed to have in his or her blood stream while operating a motor vehicle. The missing piece of the DWI puzzle for most Missourians is the heavy additional penalties that can follow a conviction for DWI leading to a collision in which people are seriously injured. A recent accident near Pevely, in eastern Missouri, may provide a stark example of these consequences.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, at about 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 13, a 60-year-old woman was driving north in her 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee when she inexplicably veered into an adjacent lane and sideswiped an ambulance operated by the Joachim-Plattin Ambulance District (JPAD). The collision forced the ambulance off the driving lane and into the grass median. The ambulance overturned after striking a metal barrier. The freeway was shut for hours while emergency crews tended to the victims. The two paramedics in the ambulance and their patient were taken to a nearby hospital where they were being treated for serious injuries.

The driver of the Jeep was arrested at the scene on suspicion of DWI and assault with a motor vehicle and was afterward released to the staff at a nearby hospital. No formal charges have been filed. The woman will probably be charged with one or more crimes based upon the police suspicion that she was intoxicated and that her state of inebriation caused the collision. The exact charges will not be revealed until police have consulted with the prosecutor.

Anyone who has been charged with driving while intoxicated and with injuring one or more persons in a collision may wish to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after the accident. A knowledgeable defense lawyer can review the evidence, suggest potential defense strategies and, if appropriate, assist in negotiating a favorable plea agreement.