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Randy Appleton
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Street Racing, DUI Combined in Virginia Beach Fatality That Led to Jail Term

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A street race on Lynnhaven Parkway this past April left one man dead and another man facing felony charges of illegal automobile racing and contributing to the death of a motorcyclist. The survivor, Christopher Allen Ballard of Virginia (VA) Beach, pled guilty to a lesser charge of misdemeanor racing on Thursday and has already begun serving a jail sentence of eight months.

Ballard avoided a harsher penalty, in part, because the man who died had been drinking before the street race began. As reported in the Virginian-Pilot, Joshua A. Schools, had a blood-alcohol concentration of more than 0.08 at the time of his death.

Speed and alcohol are always a deadly combination. Add in the illegal practice of street racing, which encourages the disregard of all traffic rules, and tragedy is ensured in many instances. In early 2008, CNN.com reported on four street racing fatalities since 2007. That CNN.com article missed a deadly 2007 street racing accident in Stauton, Virginia (VA).

The Virginia State Police have recognized the dangers of street racing for many years, even conducting a targeted crackdown on the illegal activity in 2006. More usually, local and state police rely on reckless driving laws to prosecute street racers. Whichever approach is employed, I know from my decades of representing accident victims how important it is to enforce safe driving laws.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm is based in Virginia (VA), near the NE North Carolina (NC) border. The firm handles car, truck, railroad, medical negligence cases and more. Our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service. Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton’s lawyers are licensed in VA, NC, SC, WV, DC and KY.

EJL