New info in fatal DWI on Long Island

January 27, 2009 3:33:24 PM PST
There is new information Tuesday that is raising questions in an apparent DWI crash that killed a young woman.A pick-up truck slammed into a car driven by 25-year-old Melissa Scherr, killing her.

Now, we have learned it is not the first time the driver of the truck has been accused of driving under the influence.

As Suffolk County prosecutors solidify their investigation against accused drunk driver Douglas Davis, a quick look at the state laws often used in DWI cases reveals an eye-opening fact - there is no required minimum jail time for drivers convicted second-degree vehicular manslaughter, first-degree vehicular manslaughter and the more serious charge of manslaughter in the second degree.

"When a drunk person gets behind the wheel of a car, they are driving a weapon that is as lethal as a loaded gun," Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. "And I think our laws need to reflect that."

Police say Davis, 44, rammed his GMC pick-up into the rear of Scherr's Nissan on Route 110 in Melville early Saturday morning. Scherr, of Valley Stream, died after her car slammed into a utility pole.

"He should never come out, he should never come out," mother Rose Scherr said. "He did this twice...He was drunk before."

Authorities now say that five years ago, Davis pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired. Prosecutors say his current charges of DWI and leaving the scene of an accident may soon be upgraded.

But the president of Long Island's MADD chapter can't be certain a conviction will lead to a lengthy sentence for Davis.

"Our judges are not giving sentences the way they should," Deena Cohen said. "Why they don't do that, who knows?"

Cohen says perhaps change will come when society begins viewing DWI cases not through the eyes of a drunk driver, but through the pain of a victim's family.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


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