Last week’s blog, entitled Personal Injury, Drunk Driving and Repeat Offenders, focused a statistic kept by MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving) concerning DWI and repeat offenders. MADD tells us that the average drunk driver drives under the influence 80 times before they are arrested once. This statistic is scary, because it means that the average drunk has endangered a large number of people by driving under the influence repeatedly before they are caught.
Tragically, this statistic played out in Grayson County last Saturday night, when Ricky Trent Stanley, Jr., hit and killed Grayson County Sheriff Deputy Chad Christian Key when Stanley was allegedly under the influence of alcohol. Stanley was free on bond stemming from an August 2012 arrest for DWI – 3rd at the time he killed Deputy Key. Stanley has been convicted of DWI two times, once in 2002 and again in 2004, according to WFAA.
I am not a statistician, but if the number of times Mr. Stanley has been caught driving under the influence (4) is multiplied by the MADD statistic (80), then Mr. Stanley has most likely driven under the influence something like 320 times. Mr. Stanley resides in Whitesboro or the Sherman area when he’s not living in the county jail, or a prison. I hope he stays incarcerated for a long time, because incarceration may be the only way to make sure he’s not driving under the influence on the same roads as my family, friends, and fellow community members.
Mr. Stanley has little control over his life at this point. By choosing to repeatedly drive under the influence, he has given up his freedom. He is currently incarcerated in a county jail other than Grayson County, because the Grayson County Sheriff fears for Mr. Stanley’s safety if he remains in the local jail. According to the Grayson County Jail Records, it appears Stanley is being investigated for murder, intoxication manslaughter, and his bond for DWI-3rd has been revoked. If convicted of these charges, Mr. Stanley will most likely be sentenced to a lengthy stay in prison. Mr. Stanley is currently 28 years of age.
Mr. Stanley has given up more than his ability to live in the community. He has civil liability to the family of Deputy Key. Deputy Key was married and had three children. Deputy Key’s parents are both still living. The fact is, Mr. Stanley was negligent (careless) when he drove under the influence. Beyond being careless, he was reckless. He understood the risks of DWI, yet he chose to drive under the influence anyway. The law calls this gross negligence. Mr. Stanley’s negligence and gross negligence caused the death of Deputy Key. Mr. Stanley is, therefore, liable for Deputy Key’s death including all of Deputy Key’s medical bills, physical pain, mental anguish, and funeral expenses. Mr. Stanley is liable to Mr. Key’s surviving parents who must bury their son. He is liable to a wife left alone. He is liable to Deputy Key’s children who lost a father. Mr. Stanley is also liable for punitive damages, which are damages calculated to punish Mr. Stanley for acting in such a stupid and reckless fashion.
To make matters worse, Deputy Key was a widower. According to his obituary, his first wife, Andrea, passed away in December of 2004. Andrea was the mother of Deputy Key’s first two children, one of whom is twenty years old, and the other is ten years of age. These children are now without a mother or a father. Deputy Key later remarried and has a small baby who is just several months old. Mr. Stanley has left the two older children orphaned, and the youngest without ever knowing his father.
What does Mr. Stanley owe these people for what he has done to them?
The losses are large. Personally, I hope Mr. Stanley is sued, and a district court in Grayson County enters a large judgment against Mr. Stanley which accounts for all of the loss he has inflicted upon Deputy Key and his family. Judgments for damages caused by drunk driving cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Should Mr. Stanley ever get out of prison, his liability to the Key family should be waiting for him.
There is no amount of money that will bring Deputy Key back to his family. No judgment will ease their suffering. Even still, Mr. Stanley deserves to be held accountable for the devastation he has caused to this family.
My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Deputy Chad Key.