AF officer guilty in drunken driving death
ARLINGTON, Va. — A young Air Force officer has been sentenced to jail for 18 months and will lose his commission after pleading guilty to drunken driving for the Feb. 25 incident in Kabul, Afghanistan, that resulted in the death of an Army specialist.
First Lt. Todd Doughty, who deployed to Afghanistan from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., in May 2003, elected to be tried by a military judge during a general court-martial May 31.
The court-martial, which was first reported in a June 3 Air Force news story, was held in a 379th Air Expeditionary Wing courtroom at an undisclosed “forward-deployed location,” in U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility, according to Capt. Richard Johnson, a spokesman for US Central Command/Air Force.
Doughty had been drinking on Feb. 25 when he and Army Spc. David E. Hall, 21, of Uniontown, Kan., began driving together in a vehicle of undetermined origin, Johnson said in a Thursday telephone interview.
The servicemembers were off duty at the time, Johnson said.
Hall, a member of the 414th Military Police Unit based in Joplin, Mo., was attached while in Kabul to the Army Reserve’s 805th Military Police Company, based in Raleigh, N.C.
The two were assigned to the Office of Military Cooperation-Afghanistan, according to a Feb. 26 press release by the U.S. Central Command.
Just after midnight on Feb. 26, Doughty was driving on a main road when he lost control of his vehicle while driving at a high speed, Johnson said.
Hall was killed in the crash.
Doughty was transferred to the 379th AEW to stand trial because there is no Air Force legal office near Kabul, the Air Force news story said.
During the trial — the first Air Force court-martial in the CENTCOM Air Forces area in 2004 — Doughty pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, drunk and reckless driving, and drinking in violation of U.S. Central Command’s General Order 1A.
Doughty was sentenced to 18 months’ confinement and dismissal from the service, Johnson said.
Such a dismissal is the officer’s equivalent of a bad conduct discharge for an enlisted person, an Air Force official said.
Hall’s family knew that the specialist was killed in a drunken driving accident and that Doughty would stand trial — but not precisely when, Hall’s grandfather, Robert Hall, said in a Thursday telephone interview from his home in Uniontown.
Told of the verdict, Robert Hall, a Korean War veteran, said Doughty had “done wrong, and now he’s got to live with it.”
Hall’s parents, David Hall and Donna Lynn, could not be reached for comment.
Patty Smilie, Hall’s guidance counselor at Uniontown High School, said in a Thursday telephone interview that Hall, who was known by his nickname Butch, “had sparking eyes, and was full of mischief.”
“I think it’s a horrible shame” that Hall was killed in a drunken driving incident, Smilie said.
“But even though his death came about in another way, he was a hero, because he volunteered. He was there [in Afghanistan] for us.”