William White got off with a light sentence in 2003. If he committed vehicular homicide today, he’d serve a minimum five years in state prison. Fortunate for him, Melanie’s Law wasn’t around then.
The West Newbury teens issued summons for underage drinking last week don’t have it so easy if, say, after several red plastic cups’ worth of beer, someone got behind the wheel, drove away, and killed an innocent person. Any teen, heck, any adult, can say he or she is responsible and would never be caught in that situation. But if it happened to Billy White, it can happen to anyone with stiffer punishment today.
Newburyport police arrested 42 individuals for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of liquor in calendar year 2005, the most recent time period I could find online. Six people were also arrested for a second offense the same year. [Source]
I don’t think, though am not entirely sure, if any of the OUI drivers engaged in vehicular homicide or manslaughter.
Reacting to recent comments from Daily News readers about alcohol-related stories, such as 200-or-so comments responding to White’s parole violation sentencing, may I suggest that the paper follow an example set by Quincy-based daily newspaper, The Patriot Ledger, with their column, The Drunken Driver Record which highlights the names of individuals charged with operating under the influence. Considering the numerous communities published by the Eagle Tribune Publishing Co., I can see the usefulness of such a column on whichever frequency works best.
How come none of those 199 comments mention Melanie’s Law? This year marks the 3-year anniversary of the landmark legislation; Fox25 viewers respond.
On a happier note, check out Northampton resident F. Alex Johnson’s blog, Fearless by Default. He began the blog on January 1, 2008, four days after he was arrested, at the age of 37, for his second OUI since 1989. He’s off to a good start.