In September 2008 a sand-rail accident at Sand Lake Dunes Recreational
Area near Tillamook, OR, left two dead and others seriously injured. A
sand rail is a sort of dune buggy designed to go fast on sand. The accident
was caused by David Rieman, who crashed his sand rail head-on into another
sand rail, killing the other driver and a passenger and injuring the other
two passengers. At the time of the accident, Rieman’s blood-alcohol
content was 0.27 percent (the legal limit is .08 percent).
Rieman’s trial just finished in Tillamook County. He had been charged
with criminally negligent homicide, third-degree assault, and driving
under the influence. The District Attorney’s office had requested
a sentence of more than 5 years, but judge Rick Roll sentenced Rieman
to 2.5 years in prison. Roll’s decision was influenced by witness
testimony regarding Rieman and his character, as well as feedback from
the victims. In addition, Rieman has expressed extreme remorse and made
concerted efforts to financially compensate the victims and their families.
It’s commendable that Rieman has accepted responsibility for his
actions, but it’s unfortunate that lives had to be lost and so much
suffering caused. It is never a good idea to drink and operate any sort
of motorized, or even unmotorized, vehicle. Be safe out there!