Last year, we wrote about a woman who drove her car on the W&OD trail, hitting a cyclist and sending other trail users diving into the bushes for safety. Click here to read the full post.
At the time the driver was charged with driving while intoxicated and felony hit-and-run.
We have just learned that the driver reached a deal with Fairfax County prosecutors and avoided the felony charge. She pleaded guilty to misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and hit-and-run, and was sentenced to six months in prison.
Is six months in prison and a misdemeanor charge really the appropriate punishment for a woman who drives her car at speeds close to 50 mph for close to 5 miles on a trail designed for and used by bikers, walkers, strollers, rollerbladers, etc.?
The driver, who was drinking before getting behind the wheel, endangered the lives of many trail users, and raised fear in the local community about the safety of the trail.
According to Herndon injury lawyer Doug Landau, the outcome is disappointing. Not only does the woman in this particular case get off somewhat easily with a misdemeanor charge, the message is sent that driving while intoxicated and causing injury is not serious enough to warrant felony charges.