Drunken driving, especially when a new driver is the person intoxicated behind the wheel, is a perilous combination. A Virginia Beach juvenile – 16 years old – pleaded guilty last week to aggravated involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving in an accident that took the life of his teammate. Read the Virginian-Pilot article here, courtesy of hamptonroads.com.
The case was not transferred to Circuit Court – if it had, then the juvenile driver would be tried as an adult. Instead, the case was not transferred after a guilty plea was agreed to in the juvenile court system.
The 16 year old driver, and a teammate on the Kempsville High School varsity baseball team, were traveling on the night of March 7 when the vehicle veered off the road and struck a tree. The passenger was pronounced dead at the scene. The young men, police believe, may have been consuming alcoholic energy drinks.
Police noted that the impairment of the driver may have been the result of consumption of an “alcoholic energy drink.” Gaining popularity over the past several years, most convenience stores that carry alcohol also carry carbonated and caffeinated beverages, containing up to 12% alcohol. The drinks are gaining popularity among young adults and juveniles who are drinking under age, probably due to their somewhat palatable taste, and energetic feeling they provide. Even more alarming is that these alcoholic drinks often look (are packaged) like regular, nonalcoholic drinks.
Police say that there is video of the two juveniles purchasing alcohol before the crash.