The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

Man Gets Lucky: Ben Franklin Bridge Death Not Fault of DUI

Over the first weekend of June, a van was hit on the Ben Franklin Bridge by a 19-year-old driving a Mazda under the influence of alcohol, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The van had broken down while crossing the bridge and the driver of the Mazda rear ended it at speed, causing five people to go to the hospital with injuries. One man in the van died of a heart attack.

At the time of the accident, it was thought that the man had died because of the accident, reports the Courier-Post. However, after the medical examiner's report was released, it was discovered that the man had died prior to the accident, according to the Inquirer. While that helps keep the driver out of extreme trouble, he still has some DUI issues to deal with.

The Inquirer reports that the driver's blood alcohol was at 0.08, which would certainly help for raising questions whether the driver was actually intoxicated. With a borderline BAC, a DUI defendant can challenge the accuracy of the measuring device and have a hope for a plea bargain.

But not so fast, sonny Jim. Mr. Driver here is 19. All states have a zero or minimal tolerance law for underage drinking and driving, with the highest BAC allowable anywhere being 0.02%. At 0.08%, there is no miscalibration that would give the under 21 driver a break.

The driver also has additional problems because he hit something and injured some people. This bears with it the possibility of a felony DUI. In Pennsylvania, one must have caused serious bodily harm in order to bring it to the level of a felony. Here, it looks like while some were injured, there was no seriousness to the harm.

While the driver of the Mazda in the DUI crash on Ben Franklin Bridge was lucky to have not killed anyone, he will certainly learn the hard way that an underage DUI will bring on the hurt.

Related Resources: