Nebraska Drunk Driver Risks 11 Lives, Racks Up 18 Charges.

risking-lives-despite-nebraska-ignition-interlock-permitWe tell people not to drive drunk, and sometimes add a good reason: they might hurt themselves or somebody else. Rarely do we get more specific than “somebody else,” but those somebodies could be our most precious loved ones. Recently a Grand Island, Nebraska man was charged with putting seven lives in danger – seven children.  The magnitude of the 18 charges begins to reflect the magnitude of the crime he is accused of. And apparently the Nebraska ignition interlock permit he held made no difference, because the device hadn’t been installed.

James J. Anderson was arrested for speeding, and was found to be under the influence. That alleged act alone placed him and whoever was on the road in danger.

However, there were seven children in the SUV he was driving, and three adults. Some of the young children were on the floor, riding unrestrained.

In the absence of appropriate words to describe the recklessness of this action, the prosecutor in Hall County Court slapped on a staggering number of charges at his arraignment:

  • Fifth-offense DUI
  • Seven accounts intentional child abuse
  • Seven accounts transporting a child while intoxicated
  • Driving without a license
  • Driving with an open alcohol container
  • Second-offense driving during revocation

As Usual: Where Was the Ignition Interlock?

While Anderson did not have a license, but he did have a Nebraska ignition interlock permit – a document which restores driving privileges if the driver installs an ignition interlock, a car breathalyzer device which prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

Once the Nebraska ignition interlock permit is issued in Nebraska, an offender can install the interlock. However, he or she is not monitored to make sure that the device is installed – it’s up to the offender.

The interlock should be mandatory on any vehicle registered to and driven by the offender. If that were the case here, and the SUV had failed to start because the driver had alcohol in his system, think of how many lives would not have been at risk that night.