A 39-year-old man was killed in an Orange pedestrian accident the evening of Aug. 18 after he was struck by a driver who officials say was under the influence. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, officials say Erin Meacham, 50, was driving north on Glassell Street when her vehicle struck the man. The man was reportedly crossing the street outside of a crosswalk near Quincy Avenue. The man died at the scene before he could be transferred to an area hospital. Meacham did not flee the scene. She was later arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence. The investigation is ongoing.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family members of this deceased pedestrian for their tragic loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2014 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), two people died and 32 were injured as a result of pedestrian accidents in the city of Orange. In Orange County as a whole, 66 people died and 1,294 were injured as a result of DUI crashes during the same year.
Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver who struck the pedestrian was under the influence at the time. Under California law, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. It is a felony crime to cause great bodily injury or death to someone while driving a vehicle under the influence. While pedestrians are required to cross within a marked or unmarked crosswalk, it is important to understand that the law also requires drivers to exercise care when it comes to pedestrians.
California Vehicle Code Section 21954 states: “Every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway so near as to constitute an immediate hazard.” The same section also states: “The provisions of this section shall not relieve the driver of a vehicle from the duty to exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway.”
In such cases, the at-fault driver could be held financially responsible for the pedestrian’s wrongful death. In addition, if a dangerous roadway or intersection caused the accident, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway could also be held liable. An experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer will be able to help victims and their families better understand their legal rights and options.