Update on DUI Accident Victim, Donna Chen and Her Dog Barney

January 19, 2012 | No Comments »

Rescued by a kayaker in the Gulf of Mexico off Siesta Key, Florida, Barney the dog was a lucky survivor of an accident that killed his owner, Donna Chen.  The two had been out for a jog when Blake Talman, on the run from the scene of an earlier accident, lost control of his Nissan Altima and struck the pair.

Donna Chen was killed by the impact. Panicked, Barney fled the scene and kept on going when he reached the ocean shore.  Only an extremely lucky encounter with kayaking fisherman, Rory O’Conner saved him from almost certain drowning. Barney was later returned to the grieving Chen family. That O’Connor happened to capture the incident on video brought national attention to the story.

Sadly, the tragic actions of a repeat DUI offender may eliminate people’s ability to enjoy Siesta Key beach as they did before the accident.  Some are arguing for making it illegal for everyone to consume alcoholic beverages on the world famous beach because of the idiocy of the 22 year old that committed this crime.

ABC Action News has this update:

Alleged drunk driver, Blake Talman remains in jail on a six-figure bond and faced one count of DUI manslaughter, multiple DUI counts along with property damage and  fleeing the scene of a crash. Just 22 years old and an expectant father, his family has asked for leniency.  He is unlikely to get it.

The victim’s family is pushing for a ban on alcohol at Siesta Key beach, citing a pattern of lax oversight from law enforcement. They have  questioned why Talman was able to get behind the wheel at all that day, given that he had been warned just hours before the accident by Sherriff’s deputies for apparent alcohol-related disorderliness.

One of Donna Chen’s sisters released a poem, focusing attention on the Sherriff Department’s non-intervention, which read in part:

Because you didn’t bother,
These drunks were permitted to leave.
Because you didn’t bother,
You might as well have handed them the keys.

Chen’s family has reportedly retained the services of a private investigator in order to learn more about the circumstances of the accident. They are still weighing filing a civil suit in relation to Donna Chen’s death.

As the story becomes more publicized, police officers will take less chances with people that they suspect are under the influence of alcohol.  This may lead to more DUI arrests without the necessary probable cause.  Law enforcement often takes these measures in order to avoid potential liability.  However, the arrests will lead to more people being wrongfully detained and arrested.

If you have been arrested for DUI in Fairfax, Loudoun, or Prince William County and you have questions as to whether the officer had probable cause to arrest for a DUI, contact The Gordon Law Firm for a free consultation at 703.218.8416.

 



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