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DUI Collision Kills Caltrans Worker


Gary Smith, a veteran Caltrans worker, was killed in a suspected DUI collision as he was working on Highway 99 in Butte County. According to a KTXL news report, the fatal pedestrian accident occurred near Chico the night of November 14, 2010. Caltrans workers, including Smith, were setting up a road closure on the highway when Russell Hodge drove his car through the closure and struck Smith. Police arrested Hodge on suspicion of drunk driving and second-degree murder.

My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Gary Smith for their devastating loss. Smith was apparently a 32-year Caltrans employee and about two years away from retirement when this deadly accident occurred. Tragic! My thoughts and prayers are with Smith’s grieving family members.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics

According to California Highway Patrol’s 2008 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), one person was killed and 10 were injured in Chico pedestrian accidents. During that same year, there were six fatalities and 40 injuries reported as a result of pedestrian accidents in Butte County.

What Caused This Tragic Car Accident?

It is illegal to drive with blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent or higher under California Vehicle Code Section 23152. A driver whose act of driving under the influence results in the death of another will likely face vehicular manslaughter charges.

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.” In this particular case, Hodge has been charged with second-degree murder.

Liability Issues

In such cases where negligence or wrongdoing is apparent, families of deceased car accident victims would be well-advised to contact an experienced California personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected. In cases where the victim was on-the-job, the family will also be entitled to workers compensation benefits.

Lost a family member in a California car accident? Want to know your rights? Want to know what your case is worth? Want compensation? Want justice? Want to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to another family?

Call your best friends in the legal industry after a fatal Chico pedestrian accident. Call 800-259-6373. The call is free. The advice may be priceless.

Call a Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys California wrongful death lawyer for a free professional evaluation of your rights by attorneys who have been representing families of deceased accident victims since 1978. You will experience award winning representation and outstanding personal service by a compassionate and understanding law firm in a comfortable environment.

What precautions do you take when you are driving through work zones on the freeway?

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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