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A series of recent alcohol-related car crashes have resulted in several tragic deaths in the Richmond area. On New Years Eve, a 16 year old drunk driver slammed into the vehicle of a 29 year old restaurant manager who was driving home from work. The crashed happend near the Short Pump Town Center. The restaurant manager was killed in the crash. On Christmas Eve, two passengers, aged 21 and 22, were killed when the driver of their vehicle crashed into a tree on Gaskins and Patterson Avenue. The driver was charged with DUI and manslaughter.

The age-old problem of underaged drinking is compounded by the fact that modern teens have the ability to communicate with each other instantly via instant messaging, text messaging, cell phones, and e-mail. Parents need to understand that authorizing a small gathering of unsupervised teenagers at one’s house, will likely result in a beer bash at the house. All it takes to trigger the instant messaging about the party at your house is for one of your child’s friends to notify another teen of the location. Police in Henrico have taken to raiding these parties and arresting underaged drinkers. Last Friday, the Virginia Supreme Court upheld a police raid of a birthday party for a 16 year old Charlottesville teen whose parents were serving alcohol to the boy’s guests. The decision meant that the 27 month jail terms handed down to each parent for serving alcohol to minors will stand. Current Virginia law permits parents to serve alcohol in their own home to their own children who are older than 18. It is illegal to serve alcohol in your home to other people’s children, even if they are older than 18.

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