It has taken a whole year for a drunk driver who caused a fatal crash in Panola County last year to be charged with a conviction. But even if delayed, justice is always welcome and no one in this Mississippi town is complaining.
Girls’ Night Out Gone Wrong
On August 25th, 2013, at around half past eleven in the night, a drunk driving accident at the intersection of Hunters Chapel and Highway 310 left four injured and one dead. Sarah Bial, 17, was the casualty in the fatal crash that involved one vehicle with five occupants. Four of the students in the car were Oxford High Students, while one was a Magnolia Heights student – Elaine Westfaul, who was also the driver. According to police reports, the five were returning from a wild party when the vehicle they were in crashed.
The girls were in a Toyota 20024 SUV that was travelling south on Hunters Chapel according to police records about the accident. The SUV then went through a stop sign, and collided with an embankment on the south of Highway 310. Mississippi Highway Patrol was asked to come in and investigate the collision.
The accident left all four of the teenage girls injured, and two of them were transported to Tri-Lakes Medical Center in Batesville. One was taken by helicopter to The MED (Regional Medical Centre Memphis), while one of the injured had to be transported to the Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Memphis. The students taken to the Tri-Lakes Centre were released two days later, while the student at MD continued to be in a serious but not life-threatening condition for some time. Students from Oxford High kept a candle light vigil in memory of Sarah, a day after her death.
Hopefully these girls do not drive either.
When Justice comes Knocking
Elaine Sayers Westfaul, the driver who caused the crash, has finally been arrested and was booked on charges in the Panola County Jail last week. The charges against her read as one count of DUI death, and two counts of DUI causing severe injuries. The investigation, say DUI Yazoo city Mississippi attorneys, took a long time to conclude given the nature of the crash. All four girls were drunk on the night of the accident, and all were minors when the accident happened.
While the Mississippi Highway Patrol and other authorities in the state were investigating the details of the crash, Sarah’s mother Leigh Solomon, had been fighting her own battles. Leigh recalls the pain that has been her constant companion ever since her daughter died and she says that there is nothing she wouldn’t do to have her back. For more than a year, Leigh has been fighting for justice for her lost child. She was unsure if any prosecutor would even take on the case. Leigh says that she doesn’t understand why Elaine wanted to drive the car when there was someone in the group who had not been drinking at all.
Leigh wants Justice
The arrest, which Leigh calls the beginning of the healing process, has happened but it is unclear as yet what direction the trial will take. Westfaul though made a huge mistake and she should pay the price for it.