Continued from Current Stories page -
How do we know the defendant was drinking too much? You could cite to the results of the blood sample taken at the hospital in Manchester, .133, to come to that conclusion. Or you could use the results of the blood sample taken from the defendant in Iowa City four hours after the crash of .054 which our Department of Criminal Investigations (“DCI”) Expert analysis showed by retrograde extrapolation would range between .09 and .15 at the time of the incident. With an average alcohol elimination rate that would be .13. Or you could use the results of the blood sample taken from the defendant by an officer, which was .111 and came after the defendant told the deputy “why would I give you my blood I’m drunk”.
With too much alcohol in his system, the defendant drove down the road in way that caused the front seat passenger, a 15 year old, to yell and beg for him to stop. The defendant didn’t listen and eventually ran a stop sign at which time his car was broadsided by a pickup truck who had the right of way and whose driver was not drinking. The defendant and the 15 year front seat passenger survived this crash but Brady and Izaiah did not.
I find it important to note that Brady and Izaiah are the 3rd and 4th persons killed by a drunk driver in this county in the last three years. One of those victims, like Brady and Izaiah, was 16 years old when he died and the other was 22 years old. One of the two defendants responsible for those other deaths was, like the defendant, 20 years old at the time and the other defendant was 23 years old. That’s three 16 year olds and one 22 year old dying in vehicular homicides with two drivers aged 20 and one who was 23 years old. I don’t see the 16-23 year old age range of these victims and defendants as a coincidence.
The time is now for parents, grandparents, relatives, teachers, friends, and community members to talk to anyone who is in that 16 to 23 age range about the dangers of not only drinking and driving themselves but of riding in a vehicle with anyone who has been doing that. Of the prior vehicle homicides I outlined, it was always the passenger who died. The drivers all survived. This means picking who you ride with is just as important as driving responsibly yourself.
This case and the vehicular homicides before it stand as a stark reminder to all the young people in our community that you are not invincible. Actions have consequences, sometimes serious consequences like a 25 year prison sentence. Sometimes fatal consequences like an early and abrupt end to your life. Don’t find out the hard way that you are not invincible.
As for Mr. Doeppke, no one is celebrating the fact that you are being sentenced as a 20 year old to a 25 year prison sentence. It’s an appropriate punishment for the crimes you committed but at the end of the day nothing can change the fact that two people are dead because of the decisions you made on February 16 of this year.
After you get out of prison I suggest you contact local schools starting with the high school you graduated from and ask to speak to the student body about the risks and consequences involved in drinking and driving. I’ve spoken multiple times to student bodies about this topic but it is one thing for young people to hear this message from me and quite another to hear it from you. There’s nothing any of us can do to bring back Brady or Izaiah but we should all do what we can to prevent the next one of these tragedies from occurring. Thank you.