Manolo Magat, 23, and Joseph Almario, 21, were killed in a Los Angeles County traffic accident, which officials say, involved a suspected drunk driver. According to a news report in The San Gabriel Valley Tribune, the fatal crash occurred early morning on July 31, 2012 at the 710 Freeway and 10 Freeway interchange. California Highway Patrol officials say that the driver of the Toyota RAV4, 22-year-old Christian Meng, was speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol. Meng lost control of the SUV on a curve and crashed through the guard wall of the HOV lane. The vehicle plunged 60 feet off the overpass and landed on a transition road. Magat and Almario died while another passenger, 22-year-old Jason Lieu, was injured. Meng has been charged with felony DUI.
My thoughts and prayers are with the family members and friends of Manolo Magat and Joseph Almario for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. I offer my deepest condolences to them.
According to CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were two fatalities and 30 injuries involving alcohol-related crashes in Alhambra. In Los Angeles County as a whole, 204 people died and 4,672 were injured as a result of DUI crashes during the same year.
Alcohol and Speed Were Factors
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the Toyota SUV, Meng, was both speeding and driving under the influence. 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.”
Also, California Vehicle Code Section 22350 (Basic Speed Law) states: “No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic and on surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.”
Holding Drunk Drivers Accountable
In such cases, the at-fault driver, in addition to facing criminal charges, can also be held civilly liable for the victims’ wrongful death. Families of deceased victims can seek compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, loss of love and companionship and other damages. Victims’ families would also be well advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that the negligent parties are held liable. 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.