DWI charges can be particularly hard to stomach when a drunk driving accident involves beloved family members. A particularly tragic story involving both death and the violation of DWI laws came to a critical point this week when Larry William Demers pleaded no contest to felony murder charges in Bexar County District Court. MySanAntonio.Com reports that Mr. Demers was visibly upset when he approached Judge Lori Valenzuela’s bench on Tuesday, and pleaded no contest five times—one time for each member of his family that he killed in a drunk driving accident last year.
Mr. Demers was driving home from a Father’s Day barbeque last year with his wife and four sons in his Honda Civic. His sons were ages 1, 4, 8 and 9 years old at the time. At some point, Mr. Demers lost control of the vehicle and plowed into a bulldozer. Every member of his family that was in the car at the time was killed. Law enforcement officers on the scene determined that Mr. Demers had been speeding, and his blood alcohol level was recorded at 0.08% two and a half hours after the accident. Official reports also note that traces of marijuana were also found in Mr. Demer’s system.
Mr. Demers was charged with quintuple intoxication manslaughter for the deaths of his wife and sons, but those charges were enhanced to felony murder because the deaths occurred while Mr. Demers was committing another felony—drunk driving with a child passenger under the age of 15-years-old. While prosecutors noted that Mr. Demer’s case was one of the worst they had seen in the county, the Assistant District Attorney also commented that his and his wife’s families did not themselves desire to press charges against him. The sympathetic disposition of his and his wife’s families was something that the District Attorney had to take into consideration in offering a plea to Mr. Demer. There were also other factors to consider, including the fact that Mr. Demers was on probation in 2011 for a drug charge, and had tested positive at that time for marijuana or cocaine.
According to KBTX.com, Mr. Demer was ultimately ordered to serve five concurrent sentences of 30-years each for the deaths of his wife and sons. He must serve at least fifteen years of the sentences in prison until he will be eligible for parole.
Tragic accidents like the case of Larry William Demers can be avoided by appointing a designated driver and drinking responsibly. However, accidents do happen, and when they do, it is important to know your rights. If you have been charged with violating DWI laws, it is important to immediately seek out an experienced DWI attorney to review your case. A DWI attorney can help you navigate the difficult court system and can defend your case.
The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem. Corporate offices for Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are located at 432 N. Franklin Street, Suite 80, Syracuse, NY 13204; Telephone No.: 1-866-792-7800. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising.