Newton Keene, a St. Louis area man, was sentenced to 28 years in prison today for his role in a traffic accident that killed three. Keene was driving drunk when he drove the wrong way down I-255 in Illinois, and he hit a car driven by Tawanda Jackson, who was driving to her grandmother’s funeral with her friend and children. Tawanda, her 9-year old son, and her friend were killed. Tawanda’s daughter survived.
Keene was a repeat Missouri DWI offender, as well as having DWIs in Illinois, and had a total of at least 5 DWIs at the time of the crash. He had already served time in prison for his fifth DWI. His blood alcohol content was 0.240 at the time of the incident. Keene pleaded guilty to 3 counts of aggravated drunk driving that resulted in death, and one count of aggravated drunk driving that resulted in bodily injury.
As recently posted, Missouri recently passed a more comprehensive DUI/DWI law that will go into effect in August. This new law has provisions intended to assist law enforcement and courts in determining which drivers have DWIs in other jurisdictions. Keene had DWIs in both Missouri and Illinois.
This tragic story should remind drivers who have been drinking to call a cab or find an alternative way to get home rather than driving their cars. Not only does driving drunk put you at risk of stiff penalties in Missouri, but driving after drinking alcohol also puts you at risk of hurting innocent drivers and families on the roads.