Local 5 News has uncovered a connection between a recent deadly drunk driving crash and one that happened 33 years ago.
27-year-old Daniel Boucher faces an April preliminary hearing after being charged for the drunk driving death of a Hobart couple almost two weeks ago.
We now know that more than 30 years ago Daniel Boucher’s father, Ross Boucher, was convicted of killing a woman–also in a drunk driving crash.
The Rush family and Carmody family have a lot in common. Both were torn apart by death…and alcohol. But they’re not the only ones.
A local addition expert says if you’re reading this report, you’ve likely been affected by alcohol as well.
Almost two weeks ago–on a Friday night–Jim and Wendy Rush were killed in a drunk driving crash on Green Bay’s west side. When Ric Carmody heard the news the following Monday, and when he heard Daniel Boucher had been arrested, he was stunned.
“I see the name and I just couldn’t believe it,” Carmody says. “I felt like someone hit me in the chest with a hammer. It was like all over agin. It was like the day of my mother again.”
Thirty-three years ago, Carmody’s mom was killed in a drunk driving crash as well–also on Green Bay’s west side. The man charged and convicted of killing her? Ross Boucher–Daniel Boucher’s father.
Court records show Ross Boucher had a blood alcohol level of 0.331. He served five years probation and completed an in-patient alcohol rehabilitation program at Bellin Hospital in 1984.
“So many lives were affected beyond just that accident,” Carmody says. “It isn’t just Ross Boucher that was affected.”
There’s Ric’s mom, Ric’s siblings, Ross Boucher’s son Daniel, the Rushes and their families… and many other people.
Bill LaBine, executive director and an addiction counselor at the Jackie Nitschke Center in Green Bay, was also an alcoholic more than 20 years ago. He says the connection between the Boucher father and sone does not surprise him. In fact, he says most of us in Wisconsin have a connection to alcohol in a big way.
“Five hundred thousand people in Wisconsin meet the criteria for needing substance abuse treatment,” LaBine says. “And on average they affect seven other people in their lives.”
It’s widely accepted that alcohol is part of the social culture here, but what about alcoholism and abuse?
“It’s definitely a family illness that does get passed on through generations,” LaBine says. “The families have a lot of the same genetic and biological makeup.”
He also says kids learn and repeat the behaviors of alcoholic parents or–as in the case of Ric Carmody–they experience severe trauma. Carmody’s brother was 16 years old at the time of their mother’s death. And he felt responsible and guilty for allowing her to get a ride home from someone who turned out to be a drunk driver. That brother spent years in and out of jail and rehab.
“He was just devastated,” Carmody says. “[He was] blaming himself for everything that happened.”
Whatever the cause, breaking the cycle is difficult.
“Addiction changes a person–their emotions, their personality and their physical makeup,” LaBine says. “A lot of times it ends up in death.”
Daniel Boucher has been arrested and charged with several felonies, including homicide, but he has not been convicted. His preliminary hearing is set for April 5th.
For information on alcoholism and recovery, click on any of the following links:
The Jackie Nitschke Center- http://www.jackienitschkecenter.com/
Alocoholics Anonymous- http://www.aa.org/
National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse- http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/