Driving under the influence can have serious criminal ramifications as well as civil penalties if a drunk driver injures someone in a crash. A 54-year-old Georgia man was charged with DUI less safe after a crash on Jan. 15 in Brookhaven that injured Atlanta Hawks player Chandler Parsons.
A police officer witnessed the crash, which occurred around 2 p.m. According to police, the alleged drunk driver from Lawrenceville was turning left. He allegedly failed to yield and struck the basketball player’s Rolls Royce in the intersection before also striking another vehicle.
According to the officer, the Lawrenceville man was unconscious when he got to him. He reportedly regained consciousness, but “was only able to answer one question coherently.” He was bleeding from the head and was taken to the hospital.
Police say the man admitted he’d had a drink earlier in the day. However, there was allegedly a 7 Up bottle in the driver’s seat with alcohol in it. The responding officer also reported that the man “smelled heavily of an alcoholic beverage” and his eyes “appeared to be very glossy.”
Parsons reportedly told police he had head, neck and back injuries, but declined to be taken to the hospital. In a tweet on Jan. 20 regarding the various players who were unable to play, the Hawks described Parsons’ injuries as “concussion/whiplash/associated disc injury.” Coach Lloyd Pierce said Parsons was “banged up pretty bad.”
As noted, the alleged drunk driver was charged with DUI less safe. In Georgia, drivers can face this charge instead of a “per se” DUI if a police officer determines that a driver is “less safe” because of alcohol and/or drugs. This charge doesn’t necessarily require a blood alcohol level over the legal limit, which a DUI per se typically does. It usually follows some kind of reckless behavior, like swerving, speeding or an accident.
The potential penalties are the same for both types of DUI. However, a judge may be more inclined to sentence someone to the maximum penalty for a DUI if they caused serious injuries to others. That’s why it’s essential to seek experienced legal guidance.