Lourdes Jauregui, 39, of Cathedral City, was killed in a pedestrian collision, which officials say involved a suspected drunk driver. According to a CBS news report, the fatal DUI collision occurred near the intersection of Converse Road and Date Palm Drive in Cathedral City, early morning on July 7, 2012. Police say the vehicle that struck Jauregui was driven by James Coley, 49, of Newport Beach. Coley showed signs of intoxication and was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence. The investigation is ongoing.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Lourdes Jauregui for their terrible loss. Please keep this grieving family in your thoughts and prayers.
According to California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were three fatalities and 20 injuries involving drunk driving crashes in Cathedral City in the year 2009. In Riverside County as a whole, 87 people died and 986 were injured due to DUI crashes during the same year.
California DUI Laws
Based on this news account, it appears that the driver, Coley, was intoxicated at the time of the collision. He apparently admitted to officers that he had been drinking. Under California law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher. 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 under California Penal Code Section 191.5 (a).
In such cases, in addition to facing criminal charges, drunk drivers can be held civilly liable for the injuries, damages and losses they cause. Families of deceased DUI victims can file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault motorist seeking compensation for damages such as medical costs, funeral expenses, lost future income and loss of love and companionship. An experienced personal injury attorney in Riverside will be able to advise victims or their families about their legal rights and options. For more information about the dangers of driving under the influence, please visit the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) web site at www.madd.org.