A federal court in Michigan ruled last week that the company Siemens was not responsible for a fatal DUI crash that involved one of its executives. The company executive drove while under the influence and was responsible for a car accident that killed a woman and the woman’s two sons in 2005. The attorney representing the family of the woman that was killed argued that the company should have known the executive was an alcoholic and had been drinking before the executive left to attend a doctor’s appointment.
On May 3, 2005, the now 54-year-old company executive left the company’s office during the afternoon for a doctor’s visit. On his way to the appointment, the company executive rear-ended a woman and her two sons with his SUV going 70 miles per hour. According to blood tests, the company executive’s blood alcohol content at the time of the accident was around 0.32 percent, four times the legal limit in Michigan.
The attorney that represented the executive’s company, Siemens, in the lawsuit argued that executive stopped at some location in between the company’s office and the doctor’s office and consumed a large amount of alcohol. The company’s attorney wanted to show that the executive had not been drinking on the premises of the company. The company’s lawyer also argued that the executive’s co-workers were not aware that the executive was drunk, and the company’s lawyer also argued that alcohol was not found at the office or in the executive’s vehicle helping to show the executive made some intermediary stop. In a separate criminal suit, the executive was found guilty of second-degree murder for the crash and is serving a 19-30 prison sentence.
Source: Detroit Free Press, “Jury: Don’t Blame Company for Exec’s Drunken Driving that Killed Family,”David Ashenfelter, 12/17/10