Oklahoma City Personal Injury Lawyers

Driver High on Keyboard Cleaner Causes Deadly Wrong-Way Crash in OKC

I don’t like doing the “accident reporter” type blogs some injury attorneys do, but huffing on keyboard cleaner is just bizarre!

According to a report filed by the Oklahoma City Police Department last weekend, a driver under the influence of computer keyboard cleaner caused a fatal collision after driving the wrong way down I-44 during the early hours of December 13. The driver, a year 25-year-old male identified as Drea Boardingham, survived the crash and will be criminally charged in upcoming days. The driver of the other vehicle, who was not publicly identified, was discovered dead at the scene by responding officers. Our Oklahoma City car accident lawyers cover the story, and explain some of the vital differences between victim compensation in criminal trials and civil trials.

Man Under the Influence of Keyboard Cleaner Causes Fatal Collision on I-44 in OKC

Shortly before 2:20 A.M. on Sunday, December 13, the OKCPD received a call from one of Boardingham’s relatives. The caller cautioned officers that Boardingham might have been driving around in a red Mustang while “huffing keyboard cleaner.” Minutes later, officers were dispatched after a red Mustang was spotted heading southbound in the northbound lanes of Interstate 44, near its intersection with Southwest 89th Street.

imminent bicycle accident -personal injury


Sadly, despite their rapid response time, responding officers were informed while en route that the Mustang had already collided into a northbound vehicle. Upon arriving at the scene of the accident, officers noted that Boardingham, who was taken to a nearby hospital, appeared “out of it but said he had not been drinking.” The officer who transported him to medical care stated that Boardingham seemed extremely drowsy and spoke with noticeably slurred speech. Emergency medical personnel observed that – rather unusually in the immediate aftermath of a major car accident – Boardingham’s heart rate was not elevated.

These observations fall in line with several effects of inhalant abuse described by the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition, which notes that huffing inhalants can cause “slurred speech” and “drunk, dazed, or dizzy appearance.”

Understanding Restitution vs. Compensation for Car Accident Victims

With regard to criminal liability, Boardingham is expected to be charged with manslaughter, failure to keep right of center, and DUI (Driving Under the Influence). As for this tragic accident’s civil component, media outlets have not yet reported on whether the victim’s family intends to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Boardingham.

This distinction brings up an important point which car accident victims must made aware of: the difference between civil and criminal consequences following a crash or collision.

Criminal convictions often involve an element of restitution, which is a type of fine designed to compensate the crime victim for the offender’s wrongdoing. However, restitution is not the same as the compensation an accident victim would obtain through a lawsuit, which is an entirely separate civil matter. It is critical for accident victims to understand that prosecutors function solely to investigate and prove the commission of criminal acts, and do not file personal injury lawsuits on behalf of accident victims or their families.

If you wish to sue a driver after being injured in a car accident in Oklahoma City, you need assistance from an Oklahoma city personal injury lawyer – not a prosecutor. Your personal injury attorney will help you file a civil complaint, or the document which initiates a lawsuit, which stands independent of the criminal charges being handled by the prosecutor. Even if the driver is acquitted of the criminal charges for DUI, which might occur for any number of reasons (e.g. the breathalyzer machine operator was improperly licensed, the officer made an unlawful arrest), your personal injury attorney may still be able to recover compensation through a civil trial by proving that the driver was negligent in his or her operation of the vehicle.

safety first two hands on wheel

When a person is charged with a crime, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil lawsuits have a lower standard of proof in that the plaintiff’s attorney must show what is called a preponderance of the evidence. More specifically, the plaintiff’s attorney must prove that four elements were present:

  1. The existence of a “duty of care.” All drivers have a duty of care to avoid unsafe driving maneuvers, in the interest of minimizing the risk of death or injury to others.
  2. A “breach of the duty of care,” such as running a red light, driving while intoxicated, or making an improper left turn.
  3. The defendant’s actions or failure to act caused injury to the plaintiff. This element is called “causation.”
  4. The plaintiff suffered harm (“damages”) as a result of the defendant’s actions or failure to act.

If these four elements can all be proven by the plaintiff’s attorney, the defendant may be ordered to compensate the plaintiff for a variety of current and anticipated losses and expenses, including the plaintiff’s pain and suffering, the time he or she missed from work, expenses related to property damage, and a wide array of medical costs, such as hospital bills, surgery bills, and medical equipment.

Rely on an Oklahoma Car Accident Lawyer at Hasbrook & Hasbrook

If you or someone you love was injured by a drunk driver in Oklahoma City or the surrounding area, you may be able to recover significant compensation. To learn more about your legal options in a free, completely confidential legal consultation, call the Norman car accident lawyers of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040 today.