How quickly can a car accident happen? "Just like that"

They happen in a heartbeat. Or perhaps car accidents caused by intoxicated drivers really happen when the drunken person climbs behind the wheel of their vehicle.

A Jasper County Circuit Court judge in Joplin will soon weigh evidence presented in a trial in which a 27-year-old man will be accused of second-degree assault by driving his vehicle while intoxicated and being in an accident involving an injury.

"It was just like that," a Webb City resident testified at a preliminary hearing. He snapped his fingers to show the judge how quickly the car of the DWI driver came upon his own vehicle from behind.

The rear-end crash was last August about one mile west of Carthage on Missouri Highway 171, the man said.

He suffered shoulder and back injuries and was treated at a nearby hospital. Fortunately for him, those injuries do not require ongoing care.

According to the Joplin Globe, evidence was presented showing that the 27-year-old Arkansas man's car slammed into the back of the Webb City driver's car, sending it spinning. The Arkansas man's car then hit the vehicle a second time, sending it into a ditch.

A Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper told the court that he found the Arkansas driver sitting in the highway median when he arrived. He testified that the man smelled like alcohol and could not pass sobriety tests.

The man apparently admitted drinking too much at a bachelor party. His blood-alcohol test came back with a reading of nearly twice the legal limit for alcohol.

After hearing the testimony and examining other evidence, the judge ordered the man bound over for trial.

In similar situations, the injury victim will retain an experienced personal injury attorney in order to pursue a legal claim against the alleged drunk driver. They'll ask a court to order compensation for medical bills, lost wages, damage to their vehicle and other losses they might have suffered.

Source: Joplin Globe, "Arkansas man to stand trial in DWI accident," Jan. 9, 2014



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