A Warwick man accused of crashing his car in Stonington, Conn., Wednesday night with his two children in the back seat has faced charges in the past.
In this latest incident, it was a 10-year-old boy who called police saying he and his sister were afraid for their lives and wanted to jump out of the car. Then the line went dead. The next set of 911 calls were placed by passing motorists on Interstate 95 south in Stonington.
Police said a Mercedes-Benz driven by Owen Gilman crashed into a Jeep, shooting it 50 yards in to the woods.
The driver of the Jeep, and the kids, were injured. Gilman was not hurt.
Gilman, 49, was arraigned on charges of drunken driving, reckless driving, possession, two counts of risk of injury to a child, and second-degree assault with a motor vehicle. His parents paid his $250,000 bond.
Gabrielle Abbate runs Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Rhode Island and was horrified when she heard about this latest incident.
"In many cases it is the ending. It is the bottom line. It is a death. It is a fatality. It is really, and it could have been those two children. How sad would that have been? How tragic would that have been? How unnecessary would that have been?" Abbate said.
Gilman faced a charge of failure to submit to a chemical test in May 2012 in Rhode Island. Three months later, Gilman was pulled over on Route 4 and charged with driving on a license that was suspended after the prior refusal, and obstruction.
In January, he was sentenced to 20 days of home confinement, 30 hours of community service, court costs, and a $500 fine. And he got his license back.
"So what are the odds that he would do it again? It was destined," Abbate said.
MADD Rhode Island is pushing for tougher laws when children are put at risk by drunken drivers.
"People should be receiving tough sentences at the very beginning. You can't expect people that have issues and addictions to drugs and alcohol, (like) in this case, to do it on their own. They're offered and they're offered and they're offered, and given a break. The people tend to forget that by giving them a break, you're putting other people's lives at risk," Abbate said.
Gilman is scheduled to return to Connecticut Superior Court in New London on Aug. 19.