David Joseph Garcia, 34, and Alex Estrada, 33, were killed in a Ventura car accident caused by a suspected drunk driver who crashed head-on into their vehicle, the Ventura County Star reports. Garcia and Estrada were killed in the crash the morning of September 27, 2009 on Highway 118 near Rose Avenue in Ventura, California. Joseph Garcia’s wife, Sonia, was critically injured in the crash. California Highway Patrol officials arrested 24-year-old Jorge Hernandez on suspicion of felony drunk driving. Hernandez was apparently driving the wrong way on the highway and did not have his headlights on.
My heart goes out to everyone who knew and loved David Joseph Garcia and Alex Estrada. According to the article, both men were popular DJs and were returning that morning from the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event in Fillmore where they helped motivate volunteers raising money by playing music during an all-night walkathon to benefit cancer victims and cancer research. Garcia’s mother apparently is a cancer survivor and his father died of cancer. Tragic! I offer my deepest sympathies to the families of Garcia and Estrada. I hope and pray Sonia Garcia makes a speedy and complete recovery.
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2007 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were four fatalities and 66 injuries involving alcohol-related Ventura car accidents. In Ventura County as a whole, 28 deaths and 481 injuries were reported as a result of alcohol-related car crashes in 2007. Including this fatal car crash, DUI car accidents have claimed eight lives this year alone in Ventura County, which constitutes about 30 percent of the 27 traffic deaths tallied by local CHP stations in 2009.
I hope the drunk driver in this California car accident, Jorge Hernandez, is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. CHP officials are looking into how long Hernandez had been driving the wrong way on the highway. I would not be surprised if his blood alcohol level was several times over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. An individual would have to be seriously drunk to not realize that he’s going the wrong way on a highway for miles with his headlights turned off! It’s indeed fortunate that no other motorists were run off the road or seriously injured.
This story is yet another reminder for all of us about the dangers of drinking and driving, about the tragedies and heartache it can cause to families and communities. Drinking and driving is also a serious crime. California law prohibits drivers from operating under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. 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.”
Hernandez most likely faces vehicular manslaughter charges as well. 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.”
Garcia and Estrada’s families would be well-advised to retain the services of a reputed California personal injury lawyer who has experience and an excellent track record of financially pursuing drunk drivers. Where there is negligence or wrongdoing involved, families of deceased auto accident victims can file wrongful death claims to compensate them for medical/funeral expenses, loss of wages, loss of love and companionship and other related damages. The best California car accident law firms will always offer a free initial consultation to injured victims and their families.
The Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.