The video begins late an night on December 29th, 2011 mere moments before a 90 mile-per-hour crash in Silver Spring, Maryland involving three young women. The driver of the car had twice the legal blood alcohol level in her system. If arrested in Virginia, she would have faced a DUI charge that carries with it a 5 day mandatory minimum jail sentence if convicted. Unfortunately, she was not stopped or arrested. Instead, the teenage drunk driver was involved in an accident that killed two people, including herself.
The driver’s front seat passenger, 18-year old Desaleen James had been filming their out-on-the-town antics all night. Her camera phone remained on for 21 minutes, throughout the accident and aftermath. Desaleen was the only survivor. The results are terrible beyond measure but perhaps important for others to see and share so that other young people perceive the potential consequences of drunk driving. In this tragic case, two women, Jenice Richards and Tamara Nicole Johnson lost their lives.
As the only survivor of the wreck, Desaleen told WUSA News 9 that, “I’m still in denial. I’m still in denial… I don’t know. Maybe I’m here to save somebody else,” but “I wouldn’t want anyone else, not even my worst enemy, to walk in my shoes right now.” A very strong message to Virginia teenagers that even consider drinking alcohol and driving. Parents, please talk to your children about DUI and the dangers of taking that kind of risk with their young lives and the lives of their friends and others on the road.
If you ever want assistance speaking to your children about the legal consequences of DUI or drug charges in Fairfax, Loudoun, or Northern Virginia, please contact my office at 703.218.8416. I will also speak to classes, youth groups or even a group of parents and children about the criminal justice process in Fairfax County Juvenile Court.