Last year, 19,801 traffic and criminal violations were recorded over St. Patrick’s Day weekend in North Carolina, according to the Department of Transportation’s Booze It & Lose It campaign. One of these accidents may have involved a Raleigh-Durham man who is currently being charged in a deadly vehicle crash.
Ray Rouse IV was allegedly driving the wrong way last St. Patrick’s Day when he allegedly killed a local couple. They were on their way home from church when they were struck and killed. Rouse was also injured in the collision and is still recovering in a wheelchair. Rouse pled not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, death by motor vehicle and DWI. According to ABC News, this is not the first time Rouse has been in trouble with the law.
The case is scheduled to go to trial in September. One point of contention is whether to allow the jury to see a local news video of Rouse from a prior St. Patrick’s Day interview. While Rouse remarked that St. Paddy’s is “beer drinking time,” ABC News reports his message was against drinking and driving.
St. Patrick’s Day is notorious for its green-beer drinking, especially in massive quantities. Drunk driving statistics are known to skyrocket, increasing the chance of DWI accidents:
- In 2012, one person died every 51 minutes in an alcohol-impaired driving crash in the United States.
- 37 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes on St. Patrick's Day in 2008 had blood-alcohol levels of 0.08 percent or higher.
- 134 traffic deaths occurred nationwide on St. Patrick’s Day in 2008.
St. Patrick’s Day is a one-day celebration, but the repercussions of drunk driving can last a lifetime. When an injury or fatality occurs because of drunk driving, the driver may face not only criminal charges, but also a personal injury lawsuit. If you are injured or lost a loved one in an accident caused by an intoxicated driver, contact a trusted North Carolina injury attorney for the help you need.