A 49-year-old woman was killed in a Los Angeles car accident after the vehicle in which she was a passenger was struck by a suspected drunk driver. According to a CBS news report, the fatal crash occurred the night of March 9, 2012 near the intersection of Alondra Boulevard and McNab Avenue in Bellflower. Police say the woman was in an SUV that was hit by a Corvette whose driver has been identified as John Rice. The woman was ejected from the SUV and died. Her 20-year-old daughter sustained non-life-threatening injuries. An 18-month-old girl in the SUV escaped uninjured. Rice has been booked on suspicion of drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of the deceased victim. My thoughts and prayers are also with the 20-year-old woman who was injured in this crash. I wish her the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
According to the California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but 36 injuries involving alcohol-related crashes in Bellflower. In Los Angeles County as a whole, 204 people died and 4,672 were injured as a result of DUI collisions, during the same year.
Drunk Driving and Vehicular Manslaughter
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the Corvette was under the influence at the time. 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 motorist 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.”
Protecting Victims’ Rights
In such cases where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, families of deceased victims would be well advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, who will stay on top of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected. For more information about the dangers of driving under the influence, please visit the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) web site at www.madd.org.