A man who is on trial for DUI manslaughter has pled not guilty and his attorney plans to use the insanity defense because he says the accident was a result of his client's untreated brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The accident occurred when the 38-year-old man drove the wrong way down a highway and hit another car head on. The DUI accident killed the 48-year-old driver of the other car and injured his wife who was riding as a passenger.
The 38-year-old veteran of the Marines served four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. While there, he suffered multiple injuries and experienced combat stress and also saw many disturbing things, such as a bus filled with Iraqi civilians who were all killed in an attack and who he then worked to bury in a mass grave. He also suffered a traumatic brain injury, which can make the PTSD worse. The man earned three Purple Hearts for his injuries and a Bronze Star for heroism.
The man's blood alcohol level was more than triple the legal limit. The man's attorney says that he believes his client suffered a dissociative episode and blacked out before he hit the other car. He was set to start at a new post in Florida in a couple of days when the DUI crash occurred. The man's attorney and the deceased man's wife are asking why the Marines did not do more to help this man before he caused the DUI accident. He is now in a psychiatric ward in jail. The next post will further discuss this case.
Source: Tampa Bay Online, "War wounds complicate Marine's Tampa DUI manslaughter case," Associated Press, Sept. 26, 2011