Elijah Leigh Ferguson had just returned from Iraq in February of 2008 and had attended a Liberty Briefing at Camp Pendleton where they discussed the effects of drinking and driving. Some of the Marines then played drinking games and Ferguson became intoxicated. Other Marines tried to take his keys away from him but he ordered them to give the keys back and then drove to Newport Beach. As he was waiting at a stop light, he accelerated before the light turned green, crashing into the Aston Martin vehicle in front of him. In the car were Dr. Michael Aung Sein and his wife. Dr. Sein was killed instantly and his wife was in critical condition. Police tested Ferguson’s blood alcohol content (BAC) about three hours after the crash and his BAC level was still at a .12%, well over the legal limit.
The District Attorney charged Ferguson with second degree murder. The defense attorney claims that this charge should be reduced to vehicular manslaughter because Ferguson had post-traumatic stress disorder from Iraq and therefore could not understand the risks of drinking and driving. The prosecutor claims that Ferguson did know about the dangers of drinking and driving and decided to drive anyway. If he is convicted of this crime, he faces around 18 years to life in prison.
After being charged with DUI manslaughter, Ferguson was immediately discharged from the Marines. Besides that punishment, he will have to go to prison, take alcohol education classes, pay court and attorney fees and have his license revoked. Ferguson should have listened to his fellow Marines that told him not to drive. If you have had too much to drink, make sure you call someone to drive you home. Whether you live in Santa Ana, Lake Forest or Anaheim, if you are charged with DUI manslaughter, call an experienced DUI defense attorney right away to assist you.