Three people–Ricardo Romero-Robles, 21, 12-year-old Christopher Mata and 26-year-old Gabino Romero-Robles–died in a California car accident after their vehicle was struck by a suspected drunk driver. According to an Associated Press news report, the fatal car crash occurred July 18, 2009 on Highway 99 near Fresno when 42-year-old Martin Deleon collided with a Ford Mustang, which in turn struck another vehicle that rolled over. The deceased car accident victims were all occupants of the Ford Mustang. Ricardo Romero-Robles was the driver of the Mustang, California Highway Patrol officials said. Deleon suffered major injuries and will be arrested on suspicion felony drunk driving and gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence.
My heart goes out to the family and friends of Ricardo and Gabino Romero-Robles and young Christopher–for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. I offer my deepest condolences to this family. Please keep them in your prayers. I also hope that Deleon is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), there were 1,489 alcohol-involved fatalities in California in 2007. These fatalities constituted 37.5 percent of all car accident deaths in California. Also in 2007, there were 203,866 DUI arrests out of which 6,264 were felony DUI arrests, which means they involved serious injuries to someone other than the drunk driver.
There is no question that these three people died unnecessarily. They were victims of someone else’s negligence–someone who made a callous decision to drink and drive. Drunk driving is illegal, to say the least, in California. According to California Vehicle Code section 23152 (a): “It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.”
A driver whose driving under the influence results in the death of another will likely face vehicular manslaughter charges. California Penal Code section 191.5 (a) states: “Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, in the driving of a vehicle, where the driving was in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 of the Vehicle Code, and the killing was either the proximate result of the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, and with gross negligence, or the proximate result of the commission of a lawful act that might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence.”
The family or families of the deceased victims would be well advised to consult with an experienced California personal injury lawyer, who will accurately and comprehensively explain their legal rights and options to them. The best personal injury law firms will always offer a free initial consultation to car accident victims and their families.