Drunk Driver Charged with Manslaughter After Fatal Crash

Date: August 4, 2013
Location: US 101, Lincoln City, Oregon
Names: Donna Jeanne Ball, Mildred Kauffman and William Lee Ball

A woman is now facing manslaughter charges following a fatal accident that killed two people on August 4, 2013.

Patty Weissenfluh, 58, of Depoe Bay, was traveling on US 101 when the Cadillac Deville she was driving crossed the center line. She collided head on with a Kia Soul, driven by Donna Jeanne Ball, 71, of Salem.

Both Ball and a passenger in Weissenfluh’s car, Mildred Kauffman, 89, of Lincoln City, were seriously injured in the collision. Ball died during her Life Flight to the hospital. Kaufmann passed away a few days after the crash. Ball’s passenger, 74-year-old William Lee Ball was seriously injured as well.

After completing their investigation, Oregon State police have charged Weissenfluh with two counts of 2nd degree manslaughter, driving under the influence, reckless driving and assault.

Weissenfluh’s bail has been set at $500,000.

We would like to express our deepest sympathies to the families of those killed in this horrific accident. Our thoughts are with you as you grieve for the loss of your loved ones and we hope that the charges that have been filed bring you some amount of closure. We would also like to wish Mr. William Ball a full recovery.

Drunk driving accidents are horrible because they could have been prevented by good sense, though this is little consolation to a victim’s family. Wrongful death claims for fatal drunk driving accidents are legally complex and can be restricted by very strict time limits (as little as one year to file the appropriate notices).

If someone you love has been killed by a drunk driver, you may be able to get compensation in a few ways:

  1. You may be able to file a claim with the auto insurance of the at-fault driver.
  2. You may be able to file a claim with the decedent’s insurance (if it was a hit-and-run crash, or the at-fault driver did not have insurance).
  3. You may be able to file a claim against the establishment or person that supplied the alcohol to the drunk driver through a Dram Shop Notice.

A Dram Shop Notice allows you to hold responsible whoever served and continued to serve alcohol to the drunk driver after they were visibly intoxicated, or whoever served alcohol to someone who is underage. This could be a bar, nightclub, restaurant, or any establishment that sells alcohol.

These establishments are required to properly train their employees to act in accordance with the OLCC’s guidelines. They should not be allowed to do otherwise. A Dram Shop Notice is a special letter that tells the establishment that they are being held accountable for failing to follow these guidelines. In a fatal accident, the Dram Shop Notice must be received within one year of the accident that caused the death.

Let an Oregon wrongful death attorney who is familiar with the law regarding drunk driving accidents help you through this difficult time, so that you can focus on your family. For more information about wrongful death claims, please order our free guide, Oregon Wrongful Deaths: A Family Guide to the Civil Justice System After the Death of a Loved One.

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 November 21, 2013, in Automobile Accidents, Drunk Driving, Wrongful Death and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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