Automobile Accidents and Drinking: Beware of the Consequences

A recent case in Howard County, Maryland demonstrates how serious courts take the situation where a person drinks, gets in a car, and has an accident that leads to the death of another human being. In the case of Jose Santiago, he and a group of friends all went out drinking. An accident occurred, and Santiago's blood alcohol was measured at .09, just above the State's legal limit of .08.

While driving, Santiago lost control and crashed into a truck. Two of the passengers, both friends, were killed. Santiago was charged and plead guilty to two counts of negligent vehicular homicide while driving under the influence of alcohol. Santiago was in this country illegally and U.S. Immigration placed a detainer on him.

Santiago blamed snow for causing the accident. Families of the two men who were killed asked that Santiago be deported instead of jailed. In fact, both families went as far as to go through an official procedure in Mexico to "renounce any illegal act" on Santiago's part and asked that he be deported back to his mother. Despite the families request, the Court sentenced him to three years in jail. Only after he serves the sentence will he be deported.

Most states including Maryland, Virginia, and Texas, all impose jail sentences in automobile accident cases, where the driver was intoxicated, and caused an accident that resulted in the death of another person. Further, most courts will force the illegal immigrant to serve jail time before allowing deportation.


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