Patricia McFarland, 63, sustained major injuries in a San Francisco car accident after her vehicle was struck by a suspected drunk driver who also left the scene of the crash. According to a news report in the Record-Bee, the injury collision occurred at the intersection of Soda Bay and Mission Rancheria roads in Lake County on June 5, 2010. California Highway Patrol officials say Thomas Mello, 40, was traveling east on Soda Bay Road in a 1990 Ford Explorer when he failed to yield right-of-way to a westbound 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser driven by McFarland. He made a left turn directly into her path. McFarland was transported to a local hospital with major injuries.
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Mello, who fled the scene of the accident, was later found at the Konocti Vista Casino. He was arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run, felony DUI, driving on a suspended license and being under the influence of a controlled substance.
My heart goes out to Patricia McFarland who appears to have sustained severe injuries in this crash. I wish her the very best for a speedy and complete recovery. She will be in my thoughts and prayers.
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2008 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were three fatalities and 64 injuries involving DUI collisions in Lake County. Also countywide, 14 people died and 292 were injured as a result of car accidents during the same year.
Violations of the Law
If the details of this news report are accurate, the driver, Mello, committed several violations of the law. Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is a serious crime under California law. California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a) states: “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.”
Leaving the scene of an accident is also a serious violation of the law. California Vehicle Code 20001 (a) states: “The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident.” In addition, officials say Mello made a left turn in front of the PT Cruiser, failing to yield right-of-way.
Claim for Compensation
In such cases, injured victims would be well-advised to contact an experienced San Francisco personal injury lawyer, who will stay on top of the official investigation and make sure that their legal rights and best interests are protected. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer will also be able to advise victims about how their own car insurance policy might apply to a hit-and-run accident or in a case where the at-fault motorist is uninsured or underinsured.
Should first-time DUI offenders be required to install Ignition Interlock Devices in their vehicles?
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.