As reported by Patrick Anderson in the June 3, 2015 edition of the Providence Journal, a Massachusetts man has been formally charged with two (2) counts of drunk driving resulting in death, two (2) counts of driving to endanger resulting in death and possession of cocaine. The man is accused of driving the wrong way on Rt. 6 causing an accident in which a couple was killed. The man formally entered a not guilty plea to the charges earlier this month.
Pursuant to Rhode Island General Law 31-27-2.2, drunk driving resulting in death is defined as when the death of any person other than the operator ensues as a proximate result of an injury received by the operation of any vehicle, the operator of which is under the influence of any intoxicating liquor, toluene, or any controlled substance as defined in chapter 28 of title 21, or any combination of these, the person so operating the vehicle shall be guilty of "driving under the influence of liquor or drugs, resulting in death".
The penalties if convicted include imprisonment in the state prison for not less than five (5) years and for not more than fifteen (15) years, in any unit of the adult correctional institutions in the discretion of the sentencing judge, by a fine of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and his or her license to operate a motor vehicle shall be revoked for a period of five (5) years. The license privilege shall not be reinstated until evidence satisfactory to the administrator of the division of motor vehicles establishes that no grounds exist which would authorize the refusal to issue a license, and until the person gives proof of financial responsibility pursuant to chapter 32 of this title.
(ii) In addition, the person convicted may be required to successfully complete alcohol or drug treatment in a program of their choice, at their own expense, as authorized by a judge of the superior court, and may successfully complete the program before any license to operate a motor vehicle is renewed.
Driving to endanger resulting in death does not require proof that the man was drunk at the time of the crash. Driving to endanger is similar to reckless driving and defined as when the death of any person ensues as a proximate result of an injury received by the operation of any vehicle in reckless disregard of the safety of others, including violations of § 31-27-22, the person so operating the vehicle shall be guilty of "driving so as to endanger, resulting in death".
The penalties if convicted include imprisonment for not more than ten (10) years and have his or her license to operate a motor vehicle suspended for no more than five (5) years