Two people were fatally injured in a car accident the morning of April 10, 2010 after their vehicle was hit by a suspected drunk driver on Highway 41 in Kings County. According to a news report in the Visalia Times Delta, police arrested Ruben Lopez, 65, in connection with the fatal car collision that killed two persons, ages 87 and 63. California Highway Patrol officials say Lopez was driving a 1994 Chevy Silverado south on the highway, near Newton Avenue, when the vehicle entered the northbound lanes. The Chevy then, struck the left front end of an oncoming 1997 Pontiac Grand Am. Both the occupants of the Grand Am died at the scene. Lopez sustained major injuries and was arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence.
I offer my heartfelt condolences to the family of these two people who were killed because another driver chose to drink and drive. Tragic! Please keep their grieving family members in your thoughts and prayers.
According to CHP’s 2008 traffic accident statistics, DUI collisions claimed 10 fatalities and caused 74 injuries in Kings County. Also, countywide, 24 fatalities and 524 injuries involving traffic accidents were reported during the same year.
California DUI Laws
Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is a serious crime under California law. 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 act of 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.”
Claim for Compensation
The deceased victims’ family members would be well-advised to consult with a reputed California personal injury lawyer who is also experienced in financially pursuing drunk drivers. A skilled car accident lawyer will make sure that the family’s rights are protected and that they are justly compensated for their losses. A knowledgeable car accident attorney should advise the family about how their own car insurance policy will apply in an accident case that involves an uninsured or underinsured driver.
What additional penalties would you like to see drunk drivers face in California?
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.