As a Metro Atlanta DUI accident lawyer, I noted with interest that a woman from Cobb County was sentenced to 18 months in prison for providing alcohol to friend of her teenaged stepson. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Aug. 6 that Kecia Evangela Whitfield, 44, is accused of providing the alcohol that led to the death of 16-year-old Garrett Reed in a drunk driving accident. After Reed died in a crash in January, tests showed he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.13, higher than Georgia’s 0.08 limit for adults and much higher than the 0.02 limit for minors. Reed was a friend of Whitfield’s stepson, Lyndon Winfree, who allegedly gave alcohol to five friends, including Reed.
Whitfield testified that she bought the alcohol for Winfree, who she said was allowed to drink at home under supervision. She said she didn’t know anyone but Winfree would be drinking it, a claim Winfree contradicted with his own testimony. According to Whitfield, Winfree stole the alcohol and other groceries while she was upstairs taking care of her baby. The prosecutor in the case said it was reckless to leave alcohol unsupervised around teenagers. Whitfield ultimately was sentenced to 18 months in prison, a $1,300 fine and 100 hours of community service.
This is a criminal case — but as any Georgia drunk driving accident attorney will tell you, Whitfield could be held legally liable for the accident in a civil case as well. In Georgia, parents may sue people who furnish alcohol to their minor children and teens without parental permission. This “social host” law makes adults who provide alcohol to teens legally responsible for the results, including fatal DUI accidents like Reed’s. Drunk driving accidents can be extremely serious, especially when the driver is an inexperienced teenager — causing wrongful deaths and catastrophic injuries such as severe burns and paralysis. A lawsuit cannot reverse these terrible accidents, unfortunately, but it can help victims and their loved ones recover the money they need to deal with the serious medical and financial effects.
Since 1995, the Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle has handled numerous intoxicated driving accident lawsuits throughout Metro Atlanta and the state of Georgia. Our Gwinnett County intoxicated driving accident lawyers help victims and their loved ones claim the money they need to pay six-figure medical bills, replace an income lost while they cannot work and cover other costs related to the accident. We can also help victims claim compensation for their injuries, pain and suffering and any permanent disability, or for the sudden and irreversible loss of a loved one. Because we have represented injured people for so long, we understand that our clients come to us at a difficult time in their lives. We work hard to ease that burden by handling the complicated and tiresome insurance and financial details of each case, allowing clients to focus on getting better.
If you or someone in your family was hurt by a drunk or drugged driver and you’d like to learn more about your rights, you should call the Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle for help. To set up a free, confidential consultation, you can reach us toll-free at 1-866-972-5287, or contact us online.