A 47-year-old mother was killed and her daughter and a friend were injured in a serious drunk driving accident in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the Patriot Ledger of Quincy reported Sept. 22. Timothy George of Brockton, Massachusetts was allegedly drunk and high on cocaine when he hit a vehicle driven by Elizabeth Oldrid. According to the article, police believe George was driving at 70 mph down Route 14 in Plymouth — where the speed limit is 45 mph — at around 8:30 p.m. Saturday night. He was seen passing other vehicles before swerving into oncoming traffic, where he hit Oldrid’s vehicle, killing her at the scene. Her 17-year-old daughter, Alexandria Oldrid, was treated and released from a hospital. A 15-year-old friend, Savannah Alexander, was hospitalized in fair condition in Boston.
At the scene, officers said George, 32, smelled of alcohol and had glassy eyes and slurred speech. They found cocaine and a device for snorting cocaine in his possession. He was arrested and charged with two counts of negligent homicide by motor vehicle — one for driving drunk and one for operating under the influence of drugs. His other charges include DUI with serious bodily injury; drug possession; speeding; and illegal passing. He was arraigned Sept. 21 and pleaded not guilty, then held on $20,000 bail.
My experience as a Massachusetts DUI defense attorney suggests that at least part of this case will be difficult to defend at trial. If the reports in the article are true, there are witnesses who can testify that George was speeding and passing — and police found the cocaine in his possession. However, the DUI case, be it drugs or alcohol, might be harder to prove. In order to convict a driver of OUI drugs, the prosecution must prove that the driver took drugs, and that those drugs impaired the driver. Impairment is not always easy to prove, especially if the driver was also allegedly drunk, as in this case. Similarly, the prosecution must also prove impairment by alcohol to get a drunk driving conviction — and having had some drinks is not the same as driving while impaired. An experienced Massachusetts drunk driving defense lawyer will argue points like these in defense of his client.