Family outraged over $600 bail following DUI arrest

October 22, 2012 7:14:33 AM PDT
A college student was seriously injured when she was hit by an alleged drunk driver in Newark, Delaware this weekend.

Twenty-one-year-old Maggie Lifland was walking along East Cleveland Avenue when it happened. Police say 46-year-old Errol Johnson was intoxicated and left the scene before police caught up with him. He's now free on $600 bail. Action News reporter John Rawlins spoke to the Lifland family who say that Johnson's release is an outrage.

"Maggie is high spirited loving energetic. To see her lying in a bed like that, all lifeless and quiet..." Kathy Lifland, Maggie's mother, said Sunday afternoon, describing daughter Maggie struggling in ICU with head injuries after being hit by an alleged drunk driver.

Shortly after midnight Saturday, the 21-year-old fashion marketing student visiting at the University of Delaware was walking on East Cleveland next to the curb when a truck slammed into her and fled.

A cell phone photo led police to the suburban home of the alleged driver, 46-year-old Errol Johnson.

Larry Lifland, Maggie's father, told us how the suspect was apparently found: "He was so intoxicated he was still in his pick-up truck."

Maggies father said he was dumbfounded when he was told Johnson had a previous DUI case and was still quickly released out on bail after posting just $600. The charges are not felonies.

And, Johnson retains a temporary drivers license.

"As we speak right now out there he continues to do what he needs to do..." Maggie's mother said.

When Action News went to the Johnson home, his family said he was not there.

The Delaware Attorney General's office confirmed that hit and run and DUI charges are not felonies in this case. They are misdemeanors and the $600 bail is within the states bail guidelines.

A source told Action News that the prior DUI issue was more than a decade ago and therefore had no impact on the bail, which is used to assure a charged defendant shows up for court.

Even so, Maggie's family believes the $600 figure sends a wrong message.


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