Shannon McDonald, 43, a Los Angeles Commissioner and long-time Lancaster resident, was killed in a suspected DUI crash. According to a Fox11 news report, the crash occurred near 40th Street West and Avenue L in Lancaster. Police say McDonald was driving a Chevy Suburban SUV when a suspected drunk driver in a pickup truck attempted to turn left and crashed into the SUV. Police say, based on preliminary investigations, that the driver of the truck may have failed to yield the right of way.
Injuries and Fatality
McDonald died at the scene and her three children were airlifted to an area hospital in critical condition. The children ranged in age from 5 to 12. They are expected to survive. According to the city’s website, McDonald volunteered with foster kids and had served as a commissioner since 2017.
Police said the driver of the truck refused to take a field sobriety test at the scene, but admitted to officials that he had consumed alcohol before driving his vehicle. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office is asking anyone who saw the accident to contact them. The driver of the truck, Robert Wells, 36, of Lancaster, was arrested on suspicion of DUI causing death. The investigation is ongoing.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family members of Shannon McDonald for their heartbreaking loss. Our thoughts and prayers are also with her three children who have not only been severely injured in this crash, but have also lost their mother.
Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the pickup truck was under the influence of alcohol. 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.” Under the same section, it is also against the law to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher.
In such cases, in addition to facing criminal charges, at-fault drivers can also be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses they cause. Injured victims of DUI collisions can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, permanent injuries, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Families of deceased victims can file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, pain and suffering and loss of love, care and companionship. An experienced Los Angeles DUI victims’ lawyer can help those injured and families who have lost loved ones to better understand their legal rights and options.