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Single-Car Accident Results in Murder Charges In Louisville Kentucky

On Saturday, March 11, 2023, at approximately 2:45 pm, there was a single-car accident on the Clark Memorial bridge in Louisville, Kentucky that resulted in the death of 21-year-old Mackenzie Carpenter. Ms. Carpenter was a passenger in a vehicle being driven by Trenton Davis. Davis lost control of his vehicle and struck a support beam on the bridge in between Indiana and Kentucky. At the scene, police smelled alcohol on the breath of Davis. A search warrant was obtained seeking blood and urine samples from University of Louisville Hospital revealing a blood/alcohol reading of .095, which is above the legal limit. As a result of the intoxication at the time of the accident, murder charges were made against Davis. Davis was reported to be in critical condition at the University of Louisville Hospital.

When can Murder Charges result from an Auto Accident?

Most people understand that they can be charged with a crime for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol or while using a cell phone, but most people do not realize you can actually be charged with murder if someone dies as a result of an auto accident. As demonstrated by the accident described above in Louisville, Kentucky, people can be charged with murder, as a result of an auto accident. Murder is a capital offense and carries with it the most severe punishment in the law.

Kentucky Statute- KRS 507.020(1)(b) – says that a person is guilty of murder when

“Including, but limited to, the operation of a motor vehicle under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, he wantonly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to another person and thereby causes the death of another person.”

Most police departments believe that driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs constitutes the “wanton” conduct specified in the above statute. Some police departments believe accidents occurring while using a cell phone constitute “wanton” conduct.

Can a Passenger Make a Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Claim Against a Driver if they Knew the Driver was Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs?

The simple answer to the above question is yes!. However, a passenger can be considered negligent by riding with someone they know or should have known to be intoxicated. If Ms. MacKenzie had seen Davis drinking large amount of alcohol and acting differently as a result, then she could be considered negligent in causing her own death by getting in the vehicle with him. It is not uncommon for two people to go out drinking together and both be intoxicated at the time of an accident. We do not have any information in this accident suggesting that Ms. Mackenzie was intoxicated or knew or should have known that Davis was intoxicated.

Many years ago, Kentucky law had a concept called “contributory negligence” which says that if a person is considered more than 50% responsible for causing their own injuries or death, then they are prevented from making a claim for their injuries or death. At that time, many insurance companies refused to pay claims where there was proof that the victim knew or should have known that the driver was intoxicated. In the 1980s, Kentucky law adopted “pure comparative negligence” which means a person is responsible for the percentage of fault attributable to their negligence. For instance, if Ms. Mackenzie was considered 51% responsible for her own death, she would recover 49% of her damages. Under the old contributory negligence standard, she would have recovered nothing.


If you are involved in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, you will require the services of an experienced Louisville auto accident attorney to investigate the cause of the accident and maximize all benefits available to the victims and their families. Matthew Troutman, a Louisville auto accident lawyer, of the Troutman Law Office has been handling auto accident claims, almost exclusively, since 1986 and has the experience and talent to obtain the best result for the victims in the above car accident.

If you need legal assistance due to a motor vehicle accident, contact Louisville auto accident attorney Matthew Troutman directly at 502-648-9507 or 859-696-0001 and he will meet with you in the hospital, your home or wherever is convenient for you. He will give you direct access through his cell phone and guide you through the difficult process necessary to obtain the best result possible for you in your car accident claim. To learn more about Louisville car accident attorney Matthew Troutman and the Troutman Law Office, click here.