Drunk Driver in Fatal Accident Sentenced to 10 Days in Jail

Date: September 29, 2012
Location: Portland, Burnside Bridge
Name: Dawn Iva-Marie Murray, Kemisha Tonesha Anderson

A drunk driver has been sentenced to 10 days in jail, and has the option of getting the felony conviction expunged from her record, for fatally hitting a woman on September 29, 2012.

Kemisha Tonesha Anderson, 30, was traveling on Burnside Bridge in the very early morning hours of September 29 when she drove over Dawn Iva-Marie Murray, 44. Prior to the accident, Murray had been sleeping on the sidewalk near the roadway. For unknown reasons, she got up and laid in the middle of the lane. Anderson did not see her and drove over her. Following the collision, Anderson continued driving as she was not aware that she had hit a person.

It wasn’t until police arrived at her Southeast Portland home later that morning that Anderson learned the bump she’d hit in the road was a person. When her BAC was run, it was reported to be at .11, which is over the legal limit of .08. She was arrested and charged with drunk driving and, hit-and-run causing fatality.

It appears that extenuating circumstances regarding the crash resulted in Anderson’s very light prison sentence. Murray was sleeping in the middle of the road when the collision occurred and witnesses at the scene indicated that they initially thought she was a backpack that had been left in the roadway. In addition, the defense attorney for Anderson raised the point that Murray might have had serious mental issues and might have wanted to harm herself. Murray had been arrested by police for refusing to move off  train tracks only a few weeks before.

Anderson was not charged with manslaughter, as Murray put herself in harms way and it was entirely possible that a sober driver would have hit her as she was laying curled into a small ball on a darkened street in the early morning. Anderson will need to spend ten days in jail for the conviction, serve community service and pay a $1000 fine. If she fulfills all these requirements, she will be eligible to have the felony conviction removed from her record, though the DUI charge will remain. Anderson will also have to serve three years on probation. The arrangement is a result of a plea bargain following Anderson’s no contest plea that she entered prior to trial.

We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of  Dawn Iva-Marie Murray. It is truly tragic that she died as a result of this accident and our thoughts are with you during this very difficult time.

Under ORS 471.565, you can sue the establishment that served the drunk driver alcohol (assuming there was one) by filing a Dram Shop Notice within 180 days. This is only for injury cases, as wrongful death cases have a separate time limit which is one year for the family to file.

A Dram Shop Notice is a special letter that tells the establishment or person who served the alcohol that a claim for damages is being made against the establishment, a description of the time, place, and circumstances giving rise to the claim, and the name and mailing address for the person making the claim. If the drunk driving led to not just an injury, but death, then you have a year instead of 180 days. Basically, a Dram Shop Notice will hold a bar owner responsible for not training employees according to the OLCC’s guidelines regarding intoxicated drinkers.

If the drunk driver was not at a bar or other business that serves alcohol before the crash, there is still the possibility of filing a claim through auto insurance. And in many cases, the drunk driver will also be punished in a criminal court. Although being found guilty for criminal charges can increase the likelihood of a civil personal injury case succeeding, you may still need the help of a drunk driving accident injury lawyer to deal with adjusters and use all the evidence correctly.

Portland Oregon Wrongful Death Attorneys


About Sean DuBois

Sean is a personal injury attorney in Portland, OR. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as Oregon Rising Stars for the past four years because of his dedication to justice and fair compensation for his clients. If you need to speak with a lawyer about your injury case, Sean can be reached at 503-222-4411.

Posted on March 18, 2013, in Automobile Accidents, Drunk Driving, Pedestrian Accidents, Wrongful Death and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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