A young Wheeling man became the most recent local victim of driving under the influence of alcohol early Saturday, according to the Marshall County Sheriff's Department. And though a high school student has been charged with driving under the influence in connection with the death, the person or persons just as responsible have not yet been identified.
Marshall County Sheriff Kevin Cecil said the accident occurred after 2 a.m. Saturday on a rural road, when Logan Christman, 18, of Benwood, lost control of his vehicle. It rolled over and a passenger, Kenneth King, 19, of Wheeling, was killed. Christman has been charged with DUI causing death.
It is illegal in West Virginia to furnish alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine and liquor, to those under 21 years of age. Someone apparently provided booze to Christman and perhaps King, in violation of the law.
Cecil said his department is investigating how the two teenagers obtained alcohol. "There are any number of places they could have gotten it," he told our reporter.
The sheriff is right about that. It is not difficult at all for minors to obtain alcohol in our area. Too frequently, the beverages adults give or sell to teenagers result in needless injuries or deaths.
Occasionally in such situations, law enforcement agencies are able to learn where teens got their booze. Criminal charges are filed and in many cases, the irresponsible adults are punished with fines and/or jail sentences.
Obviously, the deterrent effect of such action has not been sufficient to convince some adults to think twice before handing immature teenagers a couple of six-packs or a fifth of liquor.
Mixing teenagers with alcohol is a recipe for trouble and, too often, tragedy. Marshall County deputies should make it a top priority to find out who furnished the booze in this case - and come down on that person as hard as the law allows.