Drunk Driver Controversy

Victims of a drunken driving accident are calling for justice

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 - 8:13pm

Victims of a drunken driving accident are calling for justice tonight. A young man took three lives but will have to spend only three years behind bars. For those who lost loved ones on that tragic night, the punishment doesn't fit the crime.

In May 2007, David Himel made the decision to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. The result, a family forever struck with grief who says the young man has no idea the extent of damage he has done.

Sharika Lewis and five of her relatives were returning home from a night of Bingo when they were blindsided by a young man said to be drag racing, drunk, ending the lives of Lewis' aunt and cousin and taking away her unborn child. Lewis says, "We flipped four times and lay there by the railroad tracks."

The family says the feelings of heartbreak and emptiness will never go away and the family feels they're victims of injustice. 20-year-old David Himel faced up to 30 years in prison for the drunk driving accident that nearly ripped the family apart, but earlier this month, a judge sentenced him to eight years, all but three of those years suspended. Authorities say this was Himel's second DWI and the family says for three deaths, three years is not enough.

Victim Lomionka Lewis says, "At least they could have said at least 10 and no more than 20 to make it look alright, it still wasn't going to please us but at least it would look like they were trying."

The most unsettling to the family is that Himel's MySpace profile claims he'll find a way out by next year and now he plans to celebrate, a status they say is a slap in the face.

Edward Hayes who lost his wife and his daughter says, "Telling everyone that I'm going to get out in a year, the City of Plaquemines, they can't hold me down. MySpace is not somewhere you show remorse, Ashley liked MySpace, she can't get on MySpace no more."

Himel left this family with an irreplaceable void and hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills.