An Isle of Wight Circuit Judge has sentenced a Portsmouth, Virginia man to a 6-1/2 year prison term on a fatal drunk driving conviction in which the man tested at three times the legal limit.

The victim in the crash was an honors graduate of Smithfield High School who would have been entering his sophomore year at Virginia Military Institute.

According to, the offender left a Peninsula bar on August 16, 2008, drove across the James River Bridge and ran a red light on U.S. 17 at 78 miles per hour, crashing into the victim’s car.

The victim, who was apparently within a few blocks of his Carrollton home, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The offender’s blood alcohol level tested at 0.28 percent. In Virginia, a motorist is considered driving under the influence at .08 percent or higher.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles cautions that even a blood reading of .03 percent adversely affects driving ability, and as little as one drink on an empty stomach can impair the ability to drive safely.

The offender, age 24, was sentenced to 15 years behind bars for DUI manslaughter, with 8-1/2 years suspended. The judge also revoked the offender’s license, ordered substance abuse counseling, and imposed about $10,000 in restitution.

Unfortunately, accidents on Virginia roads brought about by impaired drivers cause serious injuries and death every day across the state. And in addition to administrative and criminal penalties, a drunk driver can be held separately liable in civil court for money damages.

If you–or a loved one–-have been injured in a Virginia automobile accident caused by a driver under the influence, you need to know your legal rights. Do not hesitate to get in touch with the Personal Injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, P.C. for a no-obligation consultation, Toll Free 877-544-5323.


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