Arnold, MO- A Missouri grandmother has been sentenced to 12 ½ years in jail for a drunken driving crash that killed her granddaughter less than a week before the two year anniversary of the tragic accident.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce actually sought a 20 year sentence for 49 year-old Joyce Fortner, but the court showed the Arnold woman some mercy.

On July 4, 2011, Fortner was driving with her 19 month-old granddaughter Bella Houston on Interstate 55 in St. Louis. Fortner attempted to exit the highway at the Loughborough exit when she lost control of her vehicle which was traveling at 69 mph.

Police say that Fortner’s vehicle slammed into street sign then hit a house, a tree and a fence. Her vehicle finally came to rest on the roof.

Fortner’s granddaughter was in a car seat but she suffered extensive brain injuries and died the next day, the St. Louis Patch reported.

he black box on Fortner’s Toyota showed that she was driving 69 mph and never touched the brakes once she began to crash. Her blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit of .08.

On Friday, June 28th Fortner was sentence to 12 ½ years in jail for the fatal DUI accident.

Intoxicated driving is a serious problem on the Fourth of July which is the deadliest day of the year on the roads of Missouri and the nation as a whole. While other Fourth of July activities like fireworks, or boating present a danger to revelers, the biggest and most deadly problem on Independence Day is intoxicated driving.
T
he Missouri Highway Patrol responded to 358 traffic accidents statewide over the holiday weekend. Seventeen people were killed over the weekend and an additional 157 were injured. Their statistics, however, did not say how many of those accidents were caused by intoxicated drivers.

Over the four day weekend, 199 Missourians were arrested for intoxicated driving.

For Missouri, this year’s Fourth of July weekend had fewer accidents, but more fatalities. In 2012, troopers responded to 385 traffic accidents, but there were only four fatalities and 194 injuries, the St. Louis Dispatch reported.

The roads aren’t the only places where drunken people pose a problem, Missouri’s waterways also become crowded with intoxicated boaters. Last year, only seven boaters were arrested for BUI (boating while intoxicated), but that number more than doubled for 2013 where 17 intoxicated boaters were arrested.

Even though people are aware of the dangers associated with drunken driving, a ridiculous amount of people still insist on getting behind the wheel when they have had too much to drink. A fourth of all fatal traffic accidents are caused by intoxicated drivers and the penalties associated with this charge are really serious often resulting in extensive jail sentences.

Anyone who is facing DUI charges whether it is simply an intoxicated driving charge or one that involves injury or death, the offender has the right to hire a Missouri DUI attorney and present a defense on their behalf.