Head-On Crash Kills Suspended Driver

Date: July 31, 2010
Location: Highway 211 near Molalla, Oregon
Names: Justin A. Reck, Jeanie Pauline Burghardt

A driver with a suspended license was killed on July 31, 2010, after the car he was driving crossed the centerline and crashed head-on with another car, according to an OSP press release. The driver of the other car was injured, but is expected to survive.

The crash occurred around 7:50 PM on Highway 211 near Molalla, Oregon. Justin A. Reck, 24, of Molalla, was traveling westbound when the car he was driving crossed into oncoming traffic and slammed head-on into a car driven by Jeanie Pauline Burghardt, 64, also of Molalla. Both vehicles came to rest off the highway.

Reck was pronounced dead at the scene. Burghardt was airlifted to Legacy Emanuel Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Both drivers were using safety restraints, and both vehicles’ airbags deployed. State police are continuing to investigate the crash, which closed the highway for three hours.

We send our thoughts to Burghardt as she recovers, and we also send our condolences to Reck’s family.

As Oregon car accident lawyers, we believe there is absolutely no excuse for driving while suspended. It is a blatant disregard for the law, for others’ lives and well-being, and – as this crash demonstrates – for the driver’s own life as well.

Because Justin Reck chose to drive, even though his license was suspended, he abandoned his family, including his pregnant fiancée, Candice, and his child will grow up without him.

According to the Oregon State Bar, when a driver’s license is suspended, it means that driving privileges are removed until a certain amount of time has elapsed or other conditions are met, such as buying insurance or paying fines. This is different from a license being revoked, in which case it is taken away permanently. However, the effect is the same: you cannot drive, unless you have special permission from DMV.

The most common causes for suspended licenses are:

  • Failure to report an accident
  • Failure to appear for a court hearing
  • Failure to obey a court order
  • Failure to file proof of future financial responsibility, when required
  • Failure to pass a breath test

Driving while suspended is a serious offense. It could be treated as a crime or as a violation, depending on the reason for the suspension and other factors. In the case of criminal driving while suspended, the offender could get up to a year in jail and $6,250 in fines. On top of that, all vehicles the convicted person owns can have their registrations suspended for up to three months, and the vehicle being driven at the time of the offense could have its registration suspended for up to 120 days. In some cases, this can happen even if the offender was not the registered owner of the vehicle.

If you knowingly allow someone to drive on a suspended license – whether it’s their own vehicle or yours – you could face a citation.

That’s not all. The court can order the vehicle impounded for up to three months. While the vehicle is locked away and stored, the convicted person is responsible for the costs of towing and storing the vehicle. If the person does not pay when the impoundment is over, the vehicle may be sold at public auction.

Of course, those consequences are very, very minor when you consider the risk to your life and health.

Shulman DuBois LLC represents victims with injuries resulting from accidents. Our clients deserve representation with our experience, sensitivity and tenacity. Should an unfortunate episode find you or someone you know in need of representation as a result of an accident related injury or death, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get educated by reading our Frequently Asked Questions, exploring our Personal Injury Resources, or ordering your free copy of 7 Common Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Oregon Accident Case. If you still have questions, contact us.