Two people, identified as Ismael Ramires Mejia, 26, and Lauriano Mejia Ramirez, 19, were killed in a DUI collision in San Bernardino County after the vehicle in which they were traveling was struck by s suspected drunk driver. According to a news report in The Press-Enterprise, the fatal car crash occurred the night of June 20, 2013 at the intersection of Cajon Boulevard and Fifth Street in Muscoy.
California Highway Patrol officials say Felix Roman Nava, 36, was driving a 2004 Dodge pickup truck north on Cajon Boulevard when he veered to the left, went across the painted center lines and into the path of a 1999 Nissan Maxima. The driver, Ramires, and his passenger, Mejia, died at the scene. Nava has been charged with DUI and vehicular manslaughter.
San Bernardino County Crashes
According to CHP’s 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 75 fatalities and 860 injuries involving DUI collisions in San Bernardino County. Also, countywide, 203 people were killed and 7,915 were injured due to traffic accidents during the same year.
Violation of Laws
Based on this news report, it appears that Nava was driving under the influence when he veered into oncoming lanes of traffic and struck the victims’ vehicle. 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 under California Penal Code section 191.5 (a).
Also, California Vehicle Code section 21651 (a) states: “Whenever a highway has been divided into two or more roadways by means of intermittent barriers or by means of a dividing section of not less than two feet in width, either unpaved or delineated by curbs, double-parallel lines, or other markings on the roadway, it is unlawful…to drive any vehicle over, upon, or across the dividing section.”
In such cases, drunk drivers, in addition to facing criminal prosecution, can also be held civilly liable for the injuries, damages and losses they cause. In cases where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, families of deceased victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages such as medical and funeral expenses, lost future income and loss of love and companionship. Victims’ families would be well advised to contact an experienced San Bernardino personal injury lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are preserved.