A dozen convictions for drinking and driving and many more license suspensions over the past 31 years didn’t stop Charles Cahill Jr. from climbing behind the wheel a week ago in Michigan, with no driver’s license in his wallet but enough alcohol in his blood, police say, to put him nearly three times over the legal limit, the Detroit Free Press reports. Until that day, the public had been fortunate. No one had been killed in any of the seven previous traffic crashes that state records show the 49-year-old man has been involved in. That luck ran out last Wednesday.
Twelve-year-old Victoria Mack was in the third-row seat of a minivan stopped at a stop sign when a vehicle driven by Cahill slammed into the back of it, police said. The critically injured child was flown by helicopter to a hospital, where she died Saturday. Four others in the van, including two young children, survived. Cahill is in jail charged with second-degree murder. The public is left to wonder why somebody with a lengthy record for drunken driving, who has been in and out of prison and jail, and who hasn’t had a valid driver’s license since 1989, could still be on the road. “I see it all too often,” said Tyler MacEachran of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. “It’s a horrible, horrible example of the process of license revocation that’s supposed to keep alleged drunk drivers off the road. We have technologies that would make it impossible for individuals like that to operate their vehicles while drunk.”