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Victim dies after years in vegetative state

Tom Jackman

A Fairfax Station man who had been in a persistent vegetative state since riding in a car crashed by a drunk driver in November 2007, died Friday, his family said. He was the second person killed in the accident.

Daniel B. Fath, 26, was a passenger in a BMW 540i driven by his close friend, Christopher D. Plaisier, now 24. Morgan E. Cooke, 18, was also in the car. In addition to drinking, Plaisier admitted he had been smoking marijuana when he drove the BMW over a hill on Wolf Run Shoals Road in Fairfax Station on Nov. 28, 2007.

The BMW went airborne and smashed into a tree at a point seven feet above the ground. Cooke survived for five days before she died. Fath went through multiple surgeries, but never regained consciousness. His mother suggested that Plaisier be sentenced to time taking care of his friend.

Plaisier pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced in October 2008 to three years in prison. "I can't say how sorry I am for what I've caused the Cooke family, for what I've caused Daniel. I hung out with Daniel, like, every day."

Plaisier's blood-alcohol content was measured at .08, the exact legal standard for intoxication in Virginia. He is scheduled to be released from prison in January, state records show.

Fath's family had documented his struggle on a blog, and they announced his passing there.

His mother, Brenda Fath, said Tuesday that her son was a seventh-generation Alexandria native. "As a mother," she said, "I was there when he was born, and it was very comforting to be there when he took his last breath."

-- Tom Jackman

By Tom Jackman  | September 28, 2010; 4:39 PM ET
Categories:  Alexandria, Fairfax, Tom Jackman, Traffic Accidents, Updates  
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My sympathies to the family.

I think the mother's suggestion that the driver be sentenced to time taking care of his friend is actually an excellent one. I understand the importance behind the principle of all laws applying to everyone the same way, but as our prisons get more and more overcrowded we might consider alternative sentences like that one. Perhaps the victim's family could suggest alternate sentences to propose to the judge in the case, and if the judge declines them the guilty party gets sentenced in the normal way?

Posted by: gewaldron | September 28, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Sad winners here. The mother sounds like a very compassionate person.

Posted by: DecafDrinker | September 28, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't sound like the car was "crashed into by a drunk driver"... it was crashed BY a drunk driver.

Posted by: steampunk | September 29, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

I read every day Washington Post, from Coral Gables, Florida, in my opinion this guy should be in jail for ever in his life. He took two life of human person. Very sad news. RIP.

Posted by: joamag2bellsouthnet | September 29, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Liquor ads dominate television; yet you can't advertise cigarettes.

Although those bad cigarettes typically just kill the smoker.

Think about it why this might be.

Posted by: maths1 | September 29, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Would he be allowed to drive again? I hope not ever.

Posted by: shejoy | September 29, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

"Liquor ads dominate television; yet you can't advertise cigarettes.

Although those bad cigarettes typically just kill the smoker.

Think about it why this might be"

Second hand smoke kills almost 60,000 people in the US every year. If someone drinks, they are the only ones that get drunk. If someone smokes, everyone around them does, too.

That said, nobody should be behind the wheel if they've been drinking. Cemeteries are filled with people who thought they were okay to drive and/or the people who thought their friend was sober enough to ride with.

Posted by: onlytheshadowknows1 | September 29, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

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