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Fatal Orange County Car Accident Caused by Suspected Drunk Driver


Sally Miguel, 44 and Patricia Miguel, 30, were killed in an Orange County car accident after their vehicle was struck by a suspected drunk driver going the wrong way on the 91 Freeway in Anaheim, California. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, 21-year-old Jessica Shekell was driving her 2003 Toyota Tacoma west in the eastbound FasTrak lanes of the 91 Freeway when it collided head-on into a 2009 Chevy Silverado near the 55 Freeway the morning of October 26, 2009.

The Silverado’s driver, Sally Miguel, died at the scene. Patricia Miguel, a front-seat passenger, died at a local hospital. The women’s two nieces — ages 15 and 11 — also sustained injuries and were hospitalized. Shekell faces felony DUI charges.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Sally and Patricia Miguel. My heart goes out to the two young girls who have apparently been seriously injured in this DUI car accident. Please keep this family in your prayers.

Car Accidents in Orange County

According to California Highway Patrol’s 2007 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 10 fatalities and 182 injuries involving alcohol-related car accidents in Anaheim, California. In Orange County as a whole, 75 deaths and 1,501 injuries were reported in 2007 as a result of alcohol-related car accidents. Also in the county, 178 fatalities and 14,185 injuries were reported due to all traffic accidents during the same period.

If Shekell is determined to have been negligent and intoxicated as charged, she must be prosecuted and penalized to the fullest extent of the law. Driving under the influence is not only irresponsible and unethical, but also illegal 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.” The same code section also states that it is illegal for any person with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more to drive a vehicle.

A driver, whose driving under the influence results in the death of another, will likely face vehicular manslaughter charges, as Shekell does in this case. 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.”

Liability in Car Accident Cases

In such cases, it is very important to hold the negligent parties accountable for their actions. They should be held criminally and civilly liable. Where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, families of deceased car accident victims will be able to file a wrongful death claim, which seeks damages for medical/funeral expenses, loss of earnings and other related damages.

It would be in the best interest of the Miguel family to seek the counsel of a reputed personal injury attorney in Orange County who has the experience and a successful track record holding negligent drivers accountable for their actions. A skilled car accident lawyer will also advise victims and their families about their eligibility for compensation through their car insurance policy and how that policy will apply to an accident involving an uninsured or underinsured driver. The best personal injury law firms will always offer a free and comprehensive consultation to injured victims and their families.

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.

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