Cara A. Lee, 20, was killed in a Costa Mesa car accident after the driver of a Toyota pickup truck ran a red light and broadsided the vehicle in which Lee was a passenger. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the fatal car accident occurred early morning on February 14, 2010 at the intersection of Sunflower Avenue and Sakioka Drive. Police said the driver of the Tundra pickup truck, 22-year-old Gustavo A. Vega, was fleeing an earlier traffic collision in Santa Ana.
Tragic DUI Car Accident
The truck then ran a red light at the intersection and hit the passenger side of a Toyota Corolla driven by 21-year-old Hao A. Nguyen. Lee was a front passenger in Nguyen’s car. She died at the scene. Nguyen was hospitalized with minor injuries. Vega was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, murder, vehicular manslaughter, hit-and-run and possession of a controlled substance. No one was injured in the earlier Santa Ana car accident, police said.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Cara Lee for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. They will certainly be in my prayers. I also wish Nguyen the very best for a quick and complete recovery from his injuries.
DUI Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2008 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were two fatalities and 100 injuries involving DUI car accidents in Costa Mesa, California. In Orange County as a whole, 62 deaths and 1,492 injuries were reported as a result of alcohol-related car crashes in 2008.
Drunk Driving Laws
Driving under the influence is a serious crime under California law. 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 driver 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.”
Lee’s family in this case would be well-advised to seek the counsel of a reputed Costa Mesa personal injury lawyer who is experienced in financially pursuing drunk drivers. A skilled car accident lawyer will make sure the family’s rights are protected and that they secure fair compensation for their loss. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney should advise the family about how their own car insurance policy applies in an accident case that involves an uninsured or underinsured driver.
The Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.