Robert Casey Kirk blew a blood alcohol level of .20, more than double the legal limit for driving, nearly an hour after being involved in a vehicle collision that killed a passenger driving in his car and resulted in another being paralyzed.
According to filings at Gregg County District court, at the scene of the crash investigators recovered approximately one-hundred-nine opened and unopened beer cans that were purchased at drive-up convenience stores in Longview, Texas.
Court documents show that Kirk, who was already intoxicated, drove through Don’s Fly-Thru Beer Barn, where he purchased a package of thirty beers [his 2nd purchase of the day] without leaving his vehicle. Subsequently, Kirk picked up Sarah Marie Hill who had just left work to join Kirk and passenger Josh Harrington. Within a half hour after picking up Sarah, she was dead and Josh was paralyzed.
As you can imagine, Kirk was convicted of manslaughter by intoxication and sentenced to eighteen years for Hill’s death. As well he was convicted of assault by intoxication of Harrington for which he was sentenced another ten years.
Drive-up liquor and alcohol convenience stores are more common than one might think. A host of states, including Maryland, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Louisiana, among others, permit drive-up purchases of packaged liquor, including wine and beer. No exact numbers are known as to how many states permit the practice of drive-up liquor purchases.
However, according to reports by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism a study published in New Mexico during 2004 reveals that approximately twenty-three states permitted the purchase of liquor at drive-through and drive-up liquor stores.
Although alcohol-related collisions, even those involving fatalities are becoming all too common, drive-up liquor store owners consistently support the practice.
Some municipalities are beginning to fight back with laws banning drive-up liquor sales. Case in point, the town of Rantoul, in Illinois recently banned drive-up liquor purchases.
Elsewhere in the town of Waterloo, Iowa, city officials are set to consider a zoning law developed in an effort to eradicate new drive-through liquor stores as well as limit the number of businesses that sale alcohol.
In Slidell, Louisiana, a proposal to permit drive-up daiquiri and beer purchases was extinguished before it reached voters as a result of a joint effort by the city’s mayor and council.
According to research results from a New Mexico study published in 1998, many drivers arrested for drinking while driving and being intoxicated preferred to purchase alcohol from drive-up liquor stores. For the record, that very same year New Mexico made the purchase of alcohol at drive-up liquor stores illegal.
Meanwhile, in 1998 a federal transportation bill intended to make the practice of purchasing or selling of liquor at drive-up liquor stores illegal nationwide failed. Thus, since there is no universal nationwide system, each state is entitled to permit drive-up liquor store purchases.
Statistics reveal that in 2010 approximately 10,228 people died nationwide resulting from vehicle collisions. Among those deaths, drivers with a blood alcohol level of at least .08 were involved. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA] those 10,228 account for thirty-one percent of all traffic deaths that occurred nationwide during that year.
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Original Article: azcentral.com/