A 6-year-old Costa Mesa boy suffered critical head injuries after a crash on the 55 Freeway that officials say was caused by a drunk driver. According to a news report in the Daily Pilot, 34-year-old Morgan T. Webster of Newport Beach was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
The boy, whose name was not released because of his age and condition, was traveling north on the 55 with three other children and three adults in a 2000 Mazda when a Mercedes Benz slowed down in front of them. The driver of the Mazda hit the brakes and steered toward the center divider to avoid hitting the car, but the Volkswagen driven by Webster, which was behind the Mazda, did not stop in time and ended up crashing into the back of the Mazda and then into the Mercedes before flipping over, CHP officials told the newspaper.
Several others involved in the auto accident were treated for minor injuries, including Webster, who was treated and then arrested and charged with felony DUI. The boy remains in critical condition, officials say. But here’s the disturbing part. Webster already had a history of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, another report in The Orange County Register says. Officials told the Register that Webster had twice before pleaded guilty to drug and alcohol charges.
According to court records cited by the Register, Webster pleaded guilty to drunk driving in 2001 and entered a guilty plea again in 2004 to one charge of possessing a controlled substance and public intoxication. Also the children in the Mazda sitting together in the back seat were sharing seat belts, including the boy who was severely injured. It is not only illegal for children to share seat belts, but also unsafe. Restraint systems in vehicles are built for one person and their safety benefits will be undermined if used by more than one person.
We hope the drunk driver who has reportedly committed repeat offenses putting his own life and the lives of others in danger gets his driving privileges taken away from him and is held accountable for his actions. Further, this incident is a clear example of how proper use of seatbelts plays an important role in saving lives and minimizing injuries. To find out more about how to use seatbelts and prevent injuries, please visit this Web site.