Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Accident leaves two dead, driver charged with DUI and murder

The Kentucky State Police (KSP) charged the driver in a Sunday afternoon fatal car accident with a DUI (1st offense) and 2 counts of Murder.

The initial KSP report states that Christopher S. Duncan, 43 of Dixon, was operating a 1996 Ford Ranger westbound in the eastbound lane of travel on Highway 132 when he met a 2002 Yamaha motorcycle in a curve.  The pickup truck struck the motorcycle head-on, ejecting the operator, Johnathan G. Gray, 24, Utica, and the passenger, Paula M. Hamilton, 26, Livermore.

Both occupants of the motorcycle were pronounced dead at the scene by the Webster County Coroner.  Neither victim was wearing a helmet.

Duncan was charged and transferred to the Webster County Jail.

Trooper Luis Palmer is investigating the collision.  Troopers Cody Kromer and Eric Browning, Sergeants Nick Rice and Mike Manzanares, the Webster County Sheriff’s Department, Webster County EMS, and the Webster County Coroner’s Office assisted at the scene.

Despite being listed as a first DUI in the police report, this is not Duncan’s first DUI. In May he appeared before the Kentucky Supreme Court on an appeal to a 2007 arrest and conviction for Driving Under the Influence.

On March 31, 2007, Duncan was stopped by then Sergeant Brent McDowell of the Providence Police Department for operating his motor vehicle without the use of a seatbelt and for crossing the center lane of traffic. According to that report, Duncan smelled strongly of alcohol and exhibited several signs of being intoxicated. McDowell performed several field sobriety tests before requesting permission to take Duncan for a blood test. The suspect refused to consent and instead requested that McDowell give him a breathalyzer test, which McDowell refused.

Duncan was charged with DUI, third offense, but later plead guilty to the amended charge of DUI, second offense. He then appealed the case to the Kentucky Supreme Court based on McDowell’s refusal to give a breathalyzer test. The court upheld the decision, and Duncan was currently awaiting a December 15, 2015 court date  for the 2007 conviction. That date has now been moved up to July 28.

In Kentucky, second and third DUI’s are both misdemeanor crimes. For a second offense with-in five years of a previous violation, the violator will face a minimum incarceration in the county jail not less than seven days but not more than six months. The violator may also be fined a minimum of $350 but not more than $500. Additionally, the violator may be sentenced to a minimum of 10 days but not more than six months of community labor.

Third DUIs (within five years) include a fine of not less than $500 or more than $1,000. The driver may be incarcerated for a minimum of 30 days up to 12 months. The Kentucky DMV will suspend the offender’s license for a minimum of 24 to a maximum of 36 months, and the courts will also require 10 to 12 days of community labor.

Duncan’s 2007 conviction is outside the five year window, meaning legally the new DUI charge is his first. First offense DUI convictions in Kentucky carry mandatory minimum period of incarceration of two days, which is doubled if aggravating factors exist, with potential of incarceration of up to 30 days.


  1. Anyone facing DWI need to ask their lawyer lots of questions, and use the first opportunity to really interview them. As you have to be certain that he cares for you and is skilled and capable of doing what you need on your case. This we did when we had to hire a DUI lawyer for our cousin’s case.

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  3. Wow, what a terrible story! I cannot imagine what pain the victim's families must be going through. This story just goes to show that drinking while driving carries the potential of bringing charges that are so much more than an already serious DUI. This man is now facing murder charges and I am sure he never saw it coming.

    Stephanie Waters @ Chastaine Law

  4. This is completely heartbreaking. The fact that two young people lost their lives because of a senseless act. You would think that based on his prior conviction Duncan would have earned his lesson, especially since no one was fatally injured the first time. I certainly hope he understands the amount of pain he has caused their family and loved ones.

    Leticia Holt @ KHunter Law

  5. This is exactly what I was talking about with my friends a while back. Had the 1st offense for DUI been severe, this man would not have killed anyone on his 3rd DUI. Until this country grows a backbone and puts people in jail for DUI, no one is going to think that the risk is not worth the punishment. This is only going to get worse as more people reach drinking age.