This holiday season has already witnessed a multitude of DUI fatality crashes in Los Angeles and Orange counties. A lot of times, the person who is killed is not the drunk driver, but the passenger or the driver of the car that is struck. This time, it happened in the case of a 26-year-old Mission Viejo woman who died in a single-vehicle rollover crash when the vehicle she was riding in crashed into a tree, The Orange County Register reported.
The driver of the 1994 Toyota Land Cruiser, Ann Velasquez, 25 of San Juan Capistrano, was reportedly driving under the influence. The victim, Yesenia Orozco who was not wearing her seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle on impact and died of blunt force trauma to the chest. The Register reports that she was only four days shy of her 27th birthday. Velasquez, who was also not buckled up, did not suffer life-threatening injuries, but was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence. Two men, who were sitting in the back seat buckled up, suffered only minor injuries, the newspaper reported.
The article said several witnesses saw the car speeding down Alicia Parkway when Velasquez lost control. The car jumped the center curb, skidded across lanes of opposing traffic, hit a tree and rolled over. It is not clear whether all occupants of the car were intoxicated, the article stated.
This article not only illustrates the damage that can be caused by drinking and getting behind the wheel, but the importance of wearing seatbelts. It is a proven fact that seatbelts save lives. Many young people who still choose not to wear them, do so at their own peril. This young person might still be living had she worn her seatbelt or had she chosen not to drive with someone who was under the influence and incapable of driving safely.
As holiday parties and get-togethers are in full swing, let’s remember our responsibilities. Please do not drink and drive. And if you know someone has been drinking, please do not get in the car with them.