January 22, 2016- Richmond, VA
More than 600 Dominion Virginia Power customers in the Shockoe Bottom area lost power when a woman crashed her SUV into a utility pole early Friday morning.
The accident is believed to have occurred around 2:30 AM on East Main Street near Pear Street. Power was restored by 10:30 AM.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that alcohol may have been involved, and charges against the driver are pending.
According to traffic accident statistics published by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, 251 people were killed and 5,003 injured in alcohol related crashes in the state of Virginia during the year 2014. In that same year, 24,895 Virginians were convicted of driving while intoxicated.
Under Virginia law, it is illegal to “drive or operate any motor vehicle” while intoxicated.
A driver is considered to have reached a level of intoxication (rendering them “under the influence of alcohol”) when that driver has consumed enough alcoholic beverages to “so affect his manner, disposition, speech, muscular movement, general appearance or behavior, as to be apparent to observation.”
While the definition of what constitutes “driving” is generally uncontroversial, determining what it means to be “operating” a vehicle is somewhat less clear. In 2012, the Supreme Court of Virginia defined “operation” to mean: keys in the ignition and presence behind the driver’s seat. Enriquez v. Commonwealth, 283 Va. 511 (2012).