Two people identified as Mitchell Tyler Wade, 19 of Newport Beach, and Cindy Zervos, 71, of Huntington Beach, were killed in a three-car crash, which officials say involved a DUI driver. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the fatal accident occurred the evening of Jan. 19 on Pacific Coast Highway near Warner Avenue in Huntington Beach.
Fatalities and Injuries
Police said a preliminary investigation shows that 35-year-old Eric Kinser, who was driving a 2007 Dodge Ram pickup truck north on PCH, crossed over the center median to the southbound lanes. Officials said he collided head-on with a 1999 Toyota Solara driven by Wade and a 2012 Lexus RX350 driven by Zervos. Police said Zervos died at the scene.
Wade was rushed to an area trauma center where he succumbed to his injuries. Kinser was transported to a hospital for treatment and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. He is expected to survive. A 45-year-old woman, who was a passenger in the Lexus, was also taken to a hospital with moderate injuries, officials said. Police are urging anyone with information about the crash to call them at 714-536-5670. The investigation is ongoing.
We offer our deepest condolences to the families of Mitchell Tyler Wade and Cindy Zervos for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Our thoughts and prayers also go out to the injured victim. We wish her the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the Dodge pickup truck, Kinser, was not only under the influence at the time of the crash, but also crossed over to opposing lanes of traffic and collided with two vehicles, causing the fatalities and injuries. It is against California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a) to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. A driver whose act of driving under the influence results in the death of another will likely face vehicular manslaughter charges according to California Penal Code section 191.5 (a).
In such cases, in addition to criminal charges and penalties, DUI drivers can also be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses they cause. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation and pain and suffering.
Families of deceased victims may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for medical costs, funeral and burial expenses, lost future income, pain and suffering and loss of companionship. An experienced Huntington Beach car accident lawyer who represents DUI victims and their families will be able to provide more information about legal rights and options in such cases.