User uShare Login | Register
Login
Register

Along with posting photos, videos, and stories, your uShare account lets you post Classified Ads, recipes on What's For Dinner, and Announcements.


27° View Weather Current Conditions Sioux Falls Change Location
Set Weather Options

RADAR LOCATION

TEMPERATURE LOCATION

Accumulating snow possible Monday night - Tuesday. Storm Center Update.

 

KELOLAND.com | Sioux Falls News & Weather, South Dakota News & Weather, Minnesota and Iowa News

[0] My Saved Articles
Find local businesses
on the KELO Pages!

 

Most Popular Today


Vehicular Homicide: Does Penalty Fit Crime?

July 13, 2010, 4:52 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Vehicular Homicide: Does Penalty Fit Crime?
Lately we've heard about case after case involving drunk drivers, and that has some people questioning South Dakota's punishments.

The latest case involves a third DUI and a deadly accident. If convicted of vehicular homicide, Tammy Kvasnicka, could face up to 15 years in prison, a sentence which could be cut in half with good behavior.

And some wonder whether that's enough.

It was an unexpected and violent crash that killed 27-year-old Michael Xayavong. Authorities say a repeat drunk driver was again intoxicated behind the wheel when she drove the wrong way down the interstate and smashed into the car Xayavong was riding in. Unfortunately, this is an all too familiar scene.

"DWI is a crime of violence and we see the consequences of that violence every time there's a collision, every time there's a head on crash," former Minnehaha County State's Attorney Dave Nelson said.

Nelson spent 20 years prosecuting crimes in Minnehaha County.  Drunk driving was always one of the most common offenses and repeated crimes he'd see.

"In our office, we always considered it a miracle if somebody had accumulated enough DWIs to get a fifth offense and hadn't been in a serious collision where somebody was injured or even killed," Nelson said.

Nelson says at times, he'd like to see state lawmakers give the court system more options, especially when it comes to sentencing those who commit similar crimes over and over.

"Fifteen years is a substantial penalty, but we also need to understand that for a first offender, even with the maximum penalty, they'll be getting released in about seven-and-a-half years, assuming they behave themselves in the penitentiary," Nelson said.

Nelson doesn't believe it's a matter of education because everyone knows the potential consequences. He says the only way to stop drunk driving is for people to make better decisions when they drink.

"What's even more frightening is when you see the person who has been involved in a vehicular homicide has served their sentence, got out of the penitentiary, continued to drink and drive and be convicted," Nelson said.

Another recent accident put vehicular homicide in the headlines. Jason Larsen Smith also faces a max of 15 years in prison after authorities say he led a highway patrol trooper on a high speed chase that ended when he went through a red light and t-boned another truck, killing 62-year old Curtis Neuharth.

Previous Story

Next Story


RELATED STORIES
Sponsored
Find Local Businesses on KELO Pages!

You may also like

Semis Crash When Both Don't Fit Under Overpass

2/23/2015 12:32 PM

A semi driver had to be taken to the hospital following a crash on Interstate 90.

Full Story
Two New Members Join The KELOLAND Family

2/23/2015 4:41 PM

The KELOLAND family grew by two over the weekend.

Full Story
Minnesota Man Catches Walleye Whopper

2/27/2015 10:21 AM

Paul Ell of Big Lake, MN snagged a 11.6-pound, 29.5-inch walleye after 6 p.m. Thursday night.

Full Story
3 Teens In Custody After Driving Stolen Vehicle

2/24/2015 11:04 AM

Early Tuesday morning, a Sioux Falls woman reported her 2001 Land Rover Discovery was stolen. A set of keys were left in the vehicle's center cons...

Full Story
Woman Admits To Having Sexual Contact With A Teenager

2/27/2015 10:44 AM

A former Sioux Falls teacher pleads guilty to sexual contact charges for a relationship she had with a student. 

Full Story


Events