An Alabama woman was sentenced to life in prison last week as a consequence of a 2012 car accident that claimed the life of 24-year-old Emily Daye. According to AL.com, Caren Gayle Rush was convicted of manslaughter last month.
Prosecutors argued that Daye’s death was murder because Rush had made the decision to drive after having consumed anxiety and panic disorder medication Xanax, as well as methamphetamine. Rush, 32, drove over the center line of the road on Alabama 53, and sped right into Daye’s car. As a direct result of the accident, Daye died at the scene.
Rush has a record of arrests and felony convictions for drug possession and assault, which did contribute to her conviction and sentencing. Madison County Assistant District Attorney Shauna Barnett argued that this arrest record indicates that Rush is “clearly a freight train out of control” and noted that she was out on bond when the crash occurred.
Alabama has a habitual offender law, which requires that the sentencing range for Rush’s manslaughter charge be 15 years to life — up from the two to 20 years that would accompany a manslaughter verdict without prior convictions.
Rush’s sentencing and conviction is another sobering moment during the holiday season, which is a time of increased accidents due to driving under the influence.
To help combat the problem, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is increasing presence on the streets for the entirety of the peak holiday travel period — from mid-December to January 2. The patrols will be made in police cars as well as unmarked cars. The aim is to prevent deaths and injuries as a result of drunk or otherwise impaired driving by having an increased visibility and presence on Alabama roadways.
Deaths and injuries aren’t the only consequences of DUI. For the driver, the total cost of a DUI charge in the U.S., after fees, fines, and representation is about $10,000 on average. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were over 10,000 deaths as a result of drunk-driving crashes in 2012.
The best way to prevent drunk or impaired driving is simply not to do it. Being responsible, planning ahead, surrendering keys, and finding an app that prevents drunk driving can all help holiday party goers from getting on the road after having too much to drink.