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A newlywed who lost her husband just four months after saying “I do” claims his death should not be called an accident. Instead, she says, the fatal accident was a foregone conclusion. The entire incident could have been prevented, she says, if Ohio’s laws concerning repeat drunk drivers had more bite to them.

The woman’s husband, a 51-year-old Ohio teacher, died after he was struck by a vehicle operated by a man who has been charged repeatedly with drunken driving. According to court records, the man has been arrested for drunken or impaired driving eight times since 1981. The wife of the teacher that he allegedly killed wants to know how that didn’t result in at least the loss of a driver’s license.

The answer lies in the timing of the man’s arrests. Ohio operates with a six-year spaced in a way that did not push him to the level of felony repeat offender. If someone is charged with one DUI and then goes six years without a repeat performance the original DUI is not counted if another occurs. It can help present an inaccurate picture of a person’s true driving record, according to prosecutors. With the man in question, his arrests were spaced in a way that did not push him to the level of a felony repeat offender.

The teacher’s widow says there are no words to express the loss experienced by her family in the aftermath of this fatal accident. She says she hopes that, over time, laws will change to reflect the severity of repeatedly driving while under the influence of alcohol. In the meantime, she retains the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the man who allegedly took her husband’s life. A successfully litigated civil claim can’t replace the man she loved, but it can hold the man allegedly responsible for his passing accountable in a way that was not possible in a criminal court.

Source: wcpo.com, Todd Shaw, Fred Carey case: How did man with eight drunken driving arrests have a valid license?, Jason Law and Maxim Alter, March 13, 2014