California Highway Patrol officials are seeking the driver of an SUV who they say fled the scene after fatally striking a motorcyclist on the 5 Freeway in Laguna Hills.
According to a report in The Orange County Register, the fatal crash occurred the morning of Feb. 10, southbound on the freeway north of La Paz Road. Officials say a motorcycle driven by a 31-year-old man was struck by the white SUV, which left the scene without stopping.
The motorcyclist has not been identified yet. The SUV is believed to have damage to its right side. The driver is being sought on suspicion of vehicular homicide, CHP officials said. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact CHP at 949-487-4000.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family members of the deceased motorcyclist for their tragic loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Under the California Penal Code, a person commits the crime of vehicular manslaughter when he or she drives in a reckless, negligent, or unlawful manner causing the death of another person. The types of criminal charges and penalties the driver faces could depend on the degree of negligence and other factors such as whether the driver was intoxicated or whether he or she had a prior criminal record.
Ongoing Investigation and Justice for Victims’ Families
In this particular case, it is not clear precisely what caused the collision. There are still a number of unanswered questions here. Did the driver of the SUV operate the vehicle under the influence? Was the driver distracted at the time? Was he or she speeding or operating the vehicle recklessly, causing the crash? In addition to these factors, the driver of the SUV also violated California Vehicle Code 20001 (a) by leaving the scene of a fatal crash without rendering aid to the victim.
In such cases, families of deceased crash victims would be well advised to contact an experienced Orange County hit-and-run lawyer who will stay on top of the official investigation and make sure their legal rights and best interests are protected. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer will also advise victims’ families about how their own auto insurance policy might apply to a case where the driver was never identified or in a case where the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured.