Drunk Driving, Hit-and-Run: A Double Outrage

Date: July 22, 2010

As Oregon personal injury attorneys, we work hard for justice. So we were glad, recently, to see justice in action, when a Clackamas County court put a drunk, hit-and-run driver behind bars. It won’t bring back his victim, but it will give him plenty of time to think – and we hope it will cause other drivers to think as well.

On July 22, 2010, Jeffrey Jeremy Jacobs, 29, of Milwaukie, Oregon was sentenced to 100 months in prison for his role in a fatal crash. Jacobs was driving drunk in September 2009 when he crashed the car he was driving, killing 71-year-old Gary Lee Berry of Welches. After the crash, Jacobs ran into the woods. Fortunately, police caught up with him, and now a judge has given him more than eight years to reflect on the devastation and heartbreak he caused.

A comment on OregonLive.com shows how much Berry will be missed:

“I am so sad. My father is gone and we are feeling so lost. I just want anyone reading this to know what wonderful husband, father, papa and brother Gary Lee Berry was. [This] is such a great loss.”

But this tragedy is just one out of many. In our office, we see the terrible consequences of drunk driving and hit-and-run again and again.

Some examples are posted on our website. On June 2, a pedestrian was killed by a hit-and-run driver. On May 13, a drunk driver killed a homeless man. On March 9, a drunk driver injured two people and fled the scene. Those are just a very few.

Portland police get around 6,000 hit-and-run calls per year, according to the Portland Tribune – almost 125 cases each week. Three full-time investigators work as hard as they can, but there are simply too many hit-and-runs. Half the city’s hit-and-run cases go unsolved. And drunk drivers are more likely to run from the scene of a crash.

Police officer Elijah Zuniga told the Tribune, “What it boils down to is a person being selfish.”

Bonnie Ingersoll was riding her bicycle in May 2010 when she was struck by a car. The driver fled the scene, leaving her for dead.

“That’s really the true crime,” said Ingersoll. “The leaving.”

We can’t say it often enough or loudly enough. Never drive drunk. Never flee the scene of an accident.

Jeffrey Jacobs, thankfully, was caught and now faces years in prison. We commend the outstanding work of police officers, the district attorney, and the judge in bringing him to justice.

Drunk driving and hit-and-run constitute a double outrage. We don’t want you in our office after a crash. But if it does happen to you, we will fight to get you justice.

If you are the victim of a drunk driver or hit-and-run, contact us. We are here to help.