Greg Gillaspy, 70, was killed in a Yorba Linda car crash, which officials say was caused by a suspected drunk driver. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, Gillaspy was crossing the street at the intersection of Fairmont Boulevard and Lorca Lane the night of April 9, 2016 when a truck hit him.
The driver, identified as 37-year-old Jody Guerrero, remained at the scene. He was found to have been driving under the influence and was booked on suspicion of homicide. Officials said he already had a prior DUI conviction. Gillaspy was transported to an area trauma center where he died from his injuries.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family members and friends of Greg Gillaspy for their tragic loss. Gillaspy was not just a U.S. Navy veteran, but also an active member of the community who pushed to add the words “In God We Trust” to the walls of the Yorba Linda City Council Chambers. He was also a leader of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1024.
There were 165 fatalities and 13,837 injuries reported in 2013 as a result of traffic accidents in Orange County, according to California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). Of those, 60 deaths and 1,235 injuries were attributed to DUI collisions.
Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver who struck Gillaspy had prior a DUI conviction, which is why he was charged with homicide, under California law. It is illegal under the law to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. 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).
In such cases, in addition to facing criminal charges, DUI drivers can also be held financially liable for the injuries, damages and losses caused. In cases where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, families of deceased victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages including medical and funeral costs, lost future income, pain and suffering and loss of love and companionship. Families of DUI victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced Orange County personal injury attorney who has a successful track record of financially pursuing DUI drivers.