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Man in Wheelchair Killed in Riverside Hit-And-Run Car Accident

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Pedro Cervantes, 24, was killed in a Riverside car accident involving a driver who, officials say, may have been under the influence of alcohol. According to a CBS Los Angeles news report, the fatal DUI collision occurred on Avenida Maravilla in Cathedral City the night of May 27, 2011. Police say 26-year-old Randy Merida, caused the fatal pedestrian accident when he struck Cervantes, who was in a wheelchair. Merida then fled the scene leaving Cervantes critically injured. Merida was later arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, gross vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run.

My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Pedro Cervantes following this tragic hit-and-run car accident. My thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.

DUI Statistics

According to California Highway Patrol’s 2008 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but11 injuries reported involving Cathedral City DUI collisions. During that same year, 101 fatalities and 1,090 injuries occurred due to alcohol-related collisions in Riverside County.

Violation of the Law

If the details of this news report are accurate, it appears that the driver, Merida, was not only driving under the influence, but also struck and fatally injured the victim, Cervantes, and left the wheelchair-bound man lying on the roadway. What kind of a person injures a disabled person and then leaves the scene without even stopping to help? Appalling! I’m relieved to hear that this hit-and-run driver was apprehended.

Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is illegal under California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a). 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.”

In this case, Merida left the scene of the accident, which is not only an inhumane and irresponsible act, but also illegal under California Vehicle Code Section 20001 (a). Drivers are required to stop, remain at the scene until authorities arrive and most importantly help the victims obtain prompt medical attention.

Liability Issues

In cases where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, the family of a deceased victim can file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party seeking compensation for damages, including medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, benefits and loss of companionship. An experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer will be able to advise victims’ families in such cases about their legal rights and options. For more information about the dangers of driving under the influence, please visit the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) web site at www.madd.org.

Lost a family member in a Riverside County hit-and-run car accident? Want to know your rights? Want to know what your case is worth? Want compensation? Want justice? Want to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to another family?

Call a Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys Riverside wrongful death lawyer for a free professional evaluation of your rights by attorneys who have been representing families of deceased accident victims since 1978. You will experience award winning representation and outstanding personal service by a compassionate and understanding law firm in a comfortable environment.

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