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Mom rallies for child killed in Vance County DWI crash

Posted October 23, 2012

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— A mother planning a rally in memory of her young daughter killed in a crash this summer says she hopes to bring more awareness to drunken driving.

"I look online and I hear other people's stories, and there's just too many people passing away because of this," Jasmine Griffin said Tuesday.

Griffin's 19-month-old daughter, Jaleah, was killed July 20 in a violent, head-on collision.

Authorities charged Ira Evans, of Henderson, with felony death by vehicle, driving while impaired and reckless driving to endanger in connection with the wreck.

Griffin had hoped to rally outside the Vance County courthouse Tuesday, when Evans was expected to appear in District Court. His case, however, was continued until Nov. 19.

She now plans to obtain a permit to demonstrate during the November court date. On a Facebook page dedicated to her daughter's memory, she appeals to friends, family and the public to join her in the rally.

Griffin said Jaleah always put a "pep in her step," so she wants to fight for tougher laws against drunken driving.

"My daughter is the best thing to ever happen to me," Griffin said. "She just changed my life so much. She was just a happy child."

Troopers said Evans was driving a 2007 Dodge Charger on U.S. Highway 1 in Middleburg when he crossed the center line and struck a 1995 Mercedes Benz carrying Jaleah and her father, Derrick Burchette.

Both vehicles ran off the road, and the Mercedes overturned, trapping the toddler in a car seat. She died at a local hospital. Burchette was treated for his injuries and later released.

"I feel like we had our whole life ahead of us," Griffin said. "I was making plans for our future. I never thought it would be cut short like this."


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  • jjsmith1973 Oct 24, 2012

    Let me be clear after my comments drink and driving is bad and should have punishment. DWI laws need to be separated from death by motor vehicle laws. Increasing punishmentfor the DWI law itself is not the answer other than helping an election. DWI laws themselves are strict enough. Although, I would agree the death by motor vehicle law should be changed to add DWI as an aggravating factor to increase sentencing time. Therefore you aren't compromising the definition of other things like 2nd and 1 st degree murder but still getting the sentencing time.

  • jjsmith1973 Oct 24, 2012

    Yes and prevention can not be don't do it. That doesn't work and is proven by stats it doesn't work. An officer can prevent more DWI's from even covering by sitting in the parking lot of a bar at closing then at a check point. A politician can prevent more by imposing zoning laws that limit parking spaces and locations of bars and clubs. Impose fines to establishments that have constant problems with fights, public intoxication charges out of the establishment, drunk and disorderly, DWI's, and other alcohol related problems if constant enough from the establishment that cost tax payers money and tie up police. Shut the bar down. Although, what a person can't count on is saying it is bad don't do it. That doesn't work in a society that incorporates alcohol as a social norm.

  • jaleahb Oct 24, 2012

    Convicting people is not solving the problem because the max time for felony death by a motor vehicle is 7 years that most dont get. Felony death by a motor vehicle caused by a drunk driver max time should be more than some of these drug charges. We have to start preventing. I know people will break the law regardless but if more people stepped up to help more lives can be saved. The court has to do their job and deal with him but the courts can't bring my daughter back. We can make a difference and make this a bigger issue in our communities, in our schools, and in our churches. We have to start teaching our kids at a earlier age. Education is the key. The DA will do what he can according to the law but I'm dedicating my life to educate people about the consequences of breaking the law and making the wrong decisions by telling my story. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but through out this case I will not let them forget that my innocent daughter. -Jaleah's Mom

  • jjsmith1973 Oct 24, 2012

    @jafotoo are you kidding? This delusion of people "getting off" can not be more false in this state. Sorry, that your husband has allowed you to believe that " if" they have court is even close to accurate. If the person is charge they have court, the conviction rate is more than 90% and I have actually seen people convicted that blew .00 and had no indication on a toxicology from blood. I have seen them convict even when the sbi lab lost the evidence. There is a practice to rarely offer plea deals with DWI to the point it is one of the few laws that actually have spelled out special rules to do so in the statute. Learn your judicial system and the laws before you comment. This state convicts people with evidence like they sneezed wrong. So, people aren't get away with "it".

  • JAFOTOO Oct 23, 2012

    My husband is a police officer. He will identify someone driving while impaired, stop them, perform all the tests he is required to do, arrest them, take them to jail, do all the paperwork to process them and usually the person leaves before he does. IF and I say IF it goes to court, they may get a fine and a revoked drivers license, which we all know, keeps them from driving. It is sad, esp when he responds to a wreck where an innocent person has been killed by someone charged more than once with DUI. Once charge is bad enough. Multiple charges is unacceptable, but what can he (and the other officers that try) do?

  • jjsmith1973 Oct 23, 2012

    Also, those drunk drivers hmmm I don't understand why they don't use their sound none impaired judgement not to drive home. Of course if they sleep it off in their car in the parking lot they can still be charged with DWI. Are laws aren't to prevent or keep anyone safe, it is about money. When are people going to focus on prevention instead of punishment? New laws every year for DWI. People with a DWI get more punishment in this state then domestic violence offenders, assault with a deadly weapon, theft, armed robber, child abuse. I don't see a politician scream about a new law for those crimes. Oh yeah no money to make

  • jjsmith1973 Oct 23, 2012

    @mewuvbb do you know the legal definition of first degree murder?

  • mewuvbb Oct 23, 2012

    Anytime a drunk driver kills someone it should be charged for murder (1st Degree) because he you are going to use your right to drink and drive you should know the consequences for your actions if you step into a car. One Killed by a Drunk Driver is TOO MANY

  • dehowell2 Oct 23, 2012

    What a tragedy; useless killing because some drunk could not handle his beer or whatever. Should be life in prison for murder in my opinion. Also, the civil penalty for DUI without an accident should be $10,000 minimum. Maybe that would stop some of these senseless murders. In addition, get rid of wimpy Judges

  • jjsmith1973 Oct 23, 2012

    @danunger does that mean you support the same for people caught speeding? Conspiracy to commit murder? You are more likely to know a person killed or injured by other traffic violations than you are DWI. So would you support those charges for any infraction in a vehicle?