A 31-year-old Seal Beach resident was killed in a Long Beach car accident, which officials say, involved a suspected drunk driver. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the victim was a passenger in a 2000 Toyota Avalon that hit a utility pole at Clark Avenue and Eagle Street early morning on May 20, 2017. When officers arrived at the scene, they discovered two passengers inside. They pulled an unconscious man out of the vehicle and administered CPR.
Fire department paramedics determined that the passenger at died. The other passenger, a 24-year-old Long Beach man, suffered a broken leg. He was transported to a local hospital. Police found the driver walking away from the scene a few blocks north of the accident. The 24-year-old Lakewood man was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries. He also faces multiple charges including vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, felony hit-and-run and felony driving under the influence. The investigation is ongoing.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family members of the deceased passenger. We also wish the injured passenger the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
Violation of Laws
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the Toyota Avalon was under the influence at the time of the crash. California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a) states that it is unlawful for anyone who is under the influence of an alcohol beverage or any type of drug to operate a motor vehicle. The same section also states that it is against the law for a motorist to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher. It also appears that the driver left his two passengers in the vehicle and attempted to leave the scene. This is a felony crime under California Vehicle Code Section 20001 (a).
Understanding Passengers’ Rights
It is important to understand that passengers who are injured as a result of negligent drivers do have legal rights. The injured passenger in this case can seek compensation from the at-fault driver for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, rehabilitative treatment, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
The family of the deceased passenger can file what is known as a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver seeking damages for medical and funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship. In addition to facing criminal charges, DUI drivers can also be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses they cause. An experienced Orange County car accident lawyer will be able to advise victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.