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An area physician was recently charged with multiple felony OWI counts after driving into oncoming traffic and striking another vehicle. A 2-month-old baby was killed in the accident. Others were seriously injured.
The doctor has been charged with four felonies, including causing death while operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, and causing serious bodily injury while operating a vehicle while intoxicated. The physician is now in custody after a warrant was issued for his arrest.
In January of 2020, an anonymous tip reported an accident that had occurred on the 1700 block of North Main in Bluffton.
Eliseo Martinez was driving a minivan with his three children, aged 6, 5, and 2 months old. The baby was pronounced dead at the hospital.
An OWI causing death is the most serious drunk driving-related charge that you can face. It is considered a level-5 felony, which is punishable by up to six years in prison. There are other factors that can escalate the charge, as well. Those who have prior OWIs on their record can face enhanced penalties. Those with a BAC or ACE of .15 or higher also face enhanced penalties. Those who qualify for enhanced penalties have potential sentences doubled. In other words, they are looking at between two and 12 years in prison.
In this case, the doctor has been charged with one count of OWI causing death and two counts of OWI causing serious bodily injury. Each death or person injured in the crash can be charged separately.
Prosecutors have a vested interest in protecting the public from drivers who believe they can drive drunk. In this case, the doctor’s defense options are not that great. Someone called in the crash, which initiated the investigation that led to the doctor’s arrest, so there is no room to say that the traffic stop was illegal. Further, the doctor appears to have struck the other vehicle head-on, which means that he swerved into oncoming traffic. The police also appear to have tests that confirm that he had alcohol in his system at the time of the crash.
One area where there may be some wiggle room is the DUI with serious bodily injury charges. Depending on the severity of the other children and the driver, the injuries may not be substantial enough to warrant the charge of serious bodily injury.
If you have been charged with DUI or OWI in Fort Wayne, call The Bellinger Law Office today and let us begin preparing your defense to the charges.
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