Local News

Drunk Driver Kills Woman, 13 Previous DWIs

Posted April 14, 1999

— A man convicted of 13 drunk driving charges has been charged again. Tommie Janney Jr. faces DWI charges, felony hit-and-run, and death by motor vehicle.

Durham Police say he struck and killed a woman walking on the street Tuesday night.

Janney's court record, four pages worth dating back to 1983, includes a list of more than a dozen convictions for DWI and permanent revocation of his license.

Janney was driving another person's car Tuesday night when police say it hit Maureen Ohaire as she walked on South Alston Avenue. She was killed instantly.

Police say Janney left the scene, later coming back to tell them he had hit a man in the road. Janney is being held under $100,000 bond, charged with DWI, felony hit-and-run and death by vehicle.

The 43-year-old Durham man has served jail time for previous DWIs. Sandy Cooper heads the Durham County chapter ofMothers Against Drunk Driving. She wants longer jail time for habitual drunk drivers.

"A 60 day jail term or a 90 day jail term doesn't make an impression," Cooper said.

Janney's arrest comes as theGeneral Assemblydebates stronger laws for habitual drunk driving.

"This type of case should send a real clear message to the legislature that that type of legislation has to be passed," Cooper said.

Janney's lengthy arrest record disturbs Cooper. She calls for closer scrutiny of records like his.

"You know it's too late when there's a victim on the road lying there dead because, for some reason, someone slipped through the court system," she said.

The owner of the car involved in Ohaire's death, Jimmy Earl Rogers, was also a passenger. He too is charged, facing aiding and abetting DWI, felony hit and run and death by vehicle.

District Attorney Jim Hardin said he is gathering facts in the case. Known for his tough stand on DWI cases, Hardin is already preparing to prosecute Charles Castleberry on a first-degree murder charge in another DWI death.


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