He lost his life as his pickup truck crashed into an oncoming car, and once again investigators believe alcohol was involved. That is a sad end for anyone, but Stover was a man who repeatedly took risks behind the wheel, having racked up nine previous, alcohol-related suspensions and revocations dating back to 1986.
Unfortunately, he was risking more than just his own life.
Also killed in the accident was 14-year-old Andrea Bailes, a Point Pleasant eighth-grader and passenger in the second car. The tragedy of her death requires a deeper look at the problem of repeat DUI offenders.
Did we do enough to keep Stover off the road? As with many other repeat offender cases, the answer is no.
Over the past 30 years, tougher enforcement and public education efforts have done much to discourage drunken driving. Highway deaths have fallen in the United States and our region, but the career drinker is an unsolved part of the puzzle.
Repeat offenders make up a third or more of DUI arrests, so it is no small problem. A first infraction may scare many drivers straight, but some chronic offenders are just arrested over and over again.
Although a third offense is designed to trigger a felony charge and jail time in West Virginia and Ohio, Stover's history shows that does not always happen. ...
Clearly, the system did not work as intended.
West Virginia legislators need to revisit laws aimed at repeat offenders. For example, proposals in Ohio would require mandatory five-year sentences for five DUI convictions. The state also has begun an online registry of people with five or more DUI convictions since 1973.
Also, better tools and protocols are needed to make sure that authorities at all levels can see a driver's complete record, including charges and convictions in other states.
Nothing can change what happened on Route 2, but we need to work harder to keep chronic DUI offenders off the road.