San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Drunk Driver Kills Boy But Let Free

A man is roaming the streets after he killed a 10-year-old child in a hit-and-run accident while he was driving under the influence Oct. 17 in Pavas, west of San José. The man was driving even though his license had been suspended for driving drunk.

He had the equivalent of 14 drinks in his blood, according to the daily La Nación. But a judge let him free with preventive measures until his trial, instead of giving him preventive prison as requested by state prosecutors, according to Judicial Branch spokesman Fabian Barrantes.

Barrantes said state prosecutors are appealing the decision to bring the perpetrator behind bars while he awaits trial. He said the Judicial Branch press office didn’t immediately have details on why the judge made the decision.

The child, Pavas resident David Rodríguez, died in the National Children’s Hospital soon after arrival Oct. 17, the daily La Nación reported. He was one of four victims this month in drinking and driving accidents.

Also this week, a drunk driver who ran a red light in Desamparados in 2004, resulting in a collision that left four dead, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

So far this year, more than 300 people have died on the nation’s roads due to traffic accidents.

The cost of attending the tens of thousands of victims of traffic accidents last year in Costa Rica, for injuries ranging from broken bones to hemorrhages, was almost $19 million (TT, Sept. 7).

Nonetheless, the Transit Law reform that the Arias administration presented in the Legislative Assembly 10 months ago, which would crack down on reckless and drunk driving with tougher fines, among other reforms, has yet to be voted on (TT, Aug. 25, 2006, July 20).


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