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Parents of DUI accident victim give teen driver a second chance

The pain that comes with losing a loved one in a drunk driving accident is unimaginable. Whether it is a child or a parent who is lost, it is likely that the sorrows will soon turn into anger, and family members want to see the perpetrator pay for their discretions; commonly by sitting in prison. 

While we are dedicated to defending those charged with drunk driving in Arizona, as well as those accused of taking lives through DUI accidents, we understand how wounded families may feel. Because of this, the story of a pair of Illinois parents resonates with us. 

Annabella Loerop was killed when she was hit by a car in 2011 when she chased a ball into the street. She was only 4-years-old. The driver of the car, 16-year-old-DeAndre Wolfe, was ultimately charged with reckless homicide and driving under the influence (of a controlled substance) after it was found that he had trace amounts of marijuana in his system.

These crimes carried the possibility of a prison term for Wolfe, who had no prior criminal record, and maintained that he was not high or speeding at the time of the accident. 

Annabella's parents, John and Tanya labored through the arduous court process, which included numerous hearings to determine whether there was probable cause for the charges and whether they should be enhanced. After a great deal of soul-searching, they urged prosecutors to give Wolfe a second chance at life. 

Prosecutors offered Wolfe probation if he pled guilty to aggravated DUI and served 480 hours of community service. The reckless homicide charge would be dropped. By accepting the plea, Wolfe had his second chance. Wolfe made the most of his chance. He graduated from high school and plans to study audio engineering in Arizona this fall.

Source: LA Times.com, Parents set aside grief, anger to help teen who killed their child, July 20, 2013

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