CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VIRGINIA- On November 4, 2007, 84-year-old Norman G. Powell was on his way to the golf course at about 7:30 a.m. when, Christopher A. Steinruck, a 20-year-old drunken driver with a history of substance abuse struck his pickup truck head-on at Lucks Lake and Abingdon Road in Chesterfield County. He died approximately two hours later at VCU Medical Center.
Chesterfield County Circuit Court Judge Frederick G. Rockwell III called the crash a “tragedy of unspeakable proportions” on September 8 while handing down a sentence of 4.5 years in prison to 21-year-old Christopher A. Steinruck after he was convicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence.
Two years were added to the sentence by Rockwell for time that had suspended in an earlier case against Steinruck for cocaine possession.
Powell’s wife of 60 years was forced to sell their home and many of their belongings after his death because she is unable to care for herself without Powell, a Chesterfield County school-bus driver for nearly 20 years.
Since 2002, Steinruck has been convicted nine times of public intoxication, underage possession of alcohol, possession of marijuana and cocaine, and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
State sentencing guidelines called for a minimum sentence of 1 year and 10 months and a maximum of 4 years and 9 months.
COMMENTARY by Chesterfield County VA DUI Lawyer Bob Battle- In addition to the criminal jail sentence, a drunken driver in Virgina who injures or kills someone else is subject to punitive damages in addition to actual damages in a separate civil law suit. If you have been seriously injured by a drunk driver in Virginia, Bob Battle recommends Virginia personal injury lawyer Ben Glass.