Raul Hinojosa, a 28-year-old Bellflower resident, was killed in an accident on the 91 freeway in Orange County on November 16, 2008, which officials say was caused by a suspected drunk driver. Hinojosa and 20-year-old Matthew Lawetzki had pulled over on the side of the freeway just past Coal Canyon Road in Yorba Linda to change a tire on their disabled Nissan Sentra. Moments later, Allyn Barry Casey, 58, of Corona, who was doing about 75 mph in his Ford Ranger, drove into the right shoulder and hit the Sentra. Our source for this blog is a news report in The Orange County Register.
California Highway Patrol officials said Lawetzki escaped with injuries while Hinojosa, who was changing the tire at the time of the collision, was killed at the scene. Casey was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
My heart goes out to the family of Raul Hinojosa and they will definitely be in my prayers. I wish Matthew Lawetzki, who saw his friend killed on the freeway, the best for a speedy physical and emotional recovery.
Based on this newspaper report, there is no question in my mind that Casey should be held criminally and civilly responsible for this 11/16/08 fatal accident. It is not only unethical and irresponsible, but also illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The speed limit in that section of the 91 freeway is 65 mph and according to CHP officials, Casey was traveling at least 10 miles over the speed limit.
I’d urge the family of Raul Hinojosa to seek the counsel of a skilled Orange County auto accident attorney, who will help them secure the justice and compensation they rightfully deserve in this case. I sincerely hope Casey is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. He will likely face criminal vehicular manslaughter and felony drunk driving charges. Casey should also be held financially responsible for causing this tragic accident and Hinojosa’s fatal injuries. Where there is negligence or wrongdoing involved, families of deceased victims are entitled to file wrongful death claims, which provide compensation to cover medical/funeral expenses, loss of present and future wages and emotional distress.