Early Saturday morning, a 56-year-old motorcyclist was killed when his motorcycle collided with an SUV in Phoenix. Police now believe that alcohol impairment may have contributed to the accident, The Arizona Republic reports.
At around 2 a.m. on Saturday morning, Eric Blackwell was driving his Harley Davidson motorcycle westbound on Buckeye Road. A Ford Explorer travelling south on 13th Avenue collided with Blackwell’s motorcycle at an intersection, according to Phoenix police.
Although Blackwell was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, he suffered serious injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. The 40-year-old woman driving the Explorer was not injured in the crash.
Police suspect that both Blackwell and the driver of the SUV may have been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. Police spokesman James Holmes said that the woman showed signs of being under the influence of alcohol.
Phoenix police arrested the woman for DUI, but have since released her pending the results of a toxicology report. They are currently investigating whether the accident was caused by speed and/or a failure to yield.
Under Arizona law, manslaughter is defined as “recklessly causing the death of another person.” Prosecutors often charge people with vehicular manslaughter after they kill someone while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The standard for a manslaughter charge is whether the person’s behavior was a “gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.”
If the toxicology results for the driver of the Explorer show traces of alcohol or drugs, the driver may be charged with vehicular manslaughter for the death of Eric Blackwell. She would then have to show that her behavior Saturday morning was not a “gross deviation” from what a reasonable person would do under the circumstances.
- Find a Phoenix DUI Attorney (FindLaw)
- Motorcyclist Killed in Phoenix Crash (ABC News)
- Arizona DUI Laws (FindLaw)
- Manslaughter Conviction for Drunk Driver (FindLaw’s Knowledgebase)