Kimberly Krause, 32, was killed in a Garden Grove car accident, which officials say was caused by a suspected drunk driver. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the hit-and-run car accident occurred the night of April 12, 2012 at the intersection of Chapman Avenue and Pioneer Drive. Krause was riding a motor scooter east on Chapman, when an SUV driven by 43-year-old Steven Newcomer hit her. The SUV was traveling west on Chapman before its driver tried to turn left onto Pioneer and collided with the motor scooter. Krause was fatally injured. Newcomer left the scene of the crash, but was found shortly afterward and arrested on suspicion of felony DUI, hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Kimberly Krause, the deceased hit-and-run car accident victim. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were nine fatalities and 60 injuries involving DUI collisions in Garden Grove. In Orange County as a whole, 62 people died and 1,340 were injured due to alcohol-related crashes, during the same year.
Violation of Laws
Based on this news report, Newcomer may have violated a number of laws. Officials say he was under the influence while driving, which is a violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a). A driver whose act of driving under the influence results in the death of another will likely face vehicular manslaughter charges under California Penal Code Section 191.5 (a).
In addition, the driver may have also made an unsafe turn in front of the oncoming scooter. California Vehicle Code Section 21801 (a) states: "The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left or to complete a U-turn upon a highway, or to turn left into public or private property, or an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety."
Holding Wrongdoers Accountable
The SUV's driver fled the scene of the crash leaving the critically injured victim lying on the roadway. Unconscionable! Leaving the scene of an injury or fatal accident is illegal under California Vehicle Code Section 20001 (a). Motorists are required by the law to stop immediately, remain at the scene until authorities arrive and most importantly, obtain help for the injured victim. The driver in this case apparently chose to do none of the above. I’m relieved to note that the driver was apprehended and taken into police custody.
In such cases where negligence or wrongdoing is a factor, the family of a deceased victim can file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver seeking compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, loss of love and companionship, and other related damages. Victims’ families would be well advised to contact an experienced Garden Grove personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.