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DWI tragedy hits home yet again

Today, a Rockland family buries a young man who at the age of 29 was already a decorated Air Force veteran and working on his second college degree. Paul Maidman died Friday after an early morning crash in Las Vegas. The cause of death? Multiple blunt force trauma, according to the Clark County coroner. The reason for the death? According to police, drunken driving.

Maidman, born and raised in Suffern, was living in Las Vegas. He will be buried in Rockland, where family remain. His death came amid the regular routines of life. Death came after someone else decided to drink and drive, police said.

It’s a story we know painfully well: Last year, Brewster mom Lori Donohue and her 8-year-old daughter, Kayla, were mowed down by a drunken driver in Putnam; also, wrong-way driver Diane Schuler caused the drunken-driving deaths of herself and seven others in a fiery collision on the Taconic.

So much tragedy, with fresh pain always in the offing. Last weekend alone, New York state troopers made 16 DWI arrests in Westchester and Putnam; this week, there were six DWI arrests in Rockland.
Quick errand

The crash that killed Maidman occurred at 3:18 a.m. He was running an errand, making copies for an online class he was taking as he pursued a master’s in political science, his sister Dawn Fullerton-Buist told KTNV’s 13 Action News. Miranda Dalton was on the road, too, returning home from a local bar, according to reports in the Las Vegas Sun. Dalton’s Jeep Cherokee rear-ended Maidman’s 2003 Buick Century with such force, it was hard to figure out what kind of vehicle it was, according to the police report. Miranda told officers she had two drinks; she later upped the total to four “Jack and Cokes,” according to reports. Miranda failed several field sobriety tests, and officers reported smelling a strong odor of alcohol on her breath. Preliminary blood tests showed her blood alcohol level was more than double the limit of 0.08 percent.
How to fix

New York’s DWI laws are among the strictest in the nation. Ignition locks are mandatory for anyone convicted of drunken driving. Leandra’s Law makes it a felony punishable with up to four years in jail for anyone to drive drunk with a child 15 or younger in a car. Of course, people still choose to drive drunk. By the time someone is arrested for DWI, he or she usually had driven drunk 87 times, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Fullerton-Buist told the Las Vegas Sun that her family would advocate for more stringent penalties in Nevada for intoxicated drivers. “She killed my brother from behind. He never even had a chance to see what was coming,” Fullerton-Buist said. “She intentionally got into her car intoxicated. She intentionally killed my brother.”


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