A driver suspected of being under the influence of alcohol when her car crashed into a South Los Angeles apartment has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. According to a KTLA news report, Nicole Marks, 44, was sleeping next to her 4-year-old daughter in their apartment when a car slammed into her bedroom in a building near Main Street and 87th Street Place. The crash caused fragments from the wall to fatally strike Marks. Her daughter was not seriously injured.
The driver, 59-year-old Connie Jo Howard, 59, and a male passenger were injured and had to be extricated fro their vehicle. Howard faces several charges including vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury, and driving with a 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC). She faces a possible maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted as charged. She pleaded not guilty to these charges. She is due back in court July 31 and is being held on $1.13 million bail.
Our deepest condolences go out to the family members of Nicole Marks for their heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2015 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 75 fatalities and 2,123 injuries reported as a result of DUI crashes in the city of Los Angeles. Countywide, 179 people died and 4,527 were injured as a result of alcohol-related crashes during the same year. Also, in Los Angeles County as a whole, 618 deaths and 56,189 injuries were reported as a result of traffic accidents in 2015.
Laws and Liability Issues
Under California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a), it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The same section also prohibits motorists from driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. 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 criminal charges and penalties, DUI drivers can be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses they cause. Families of deceased DUI crash victims can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, pain and suffering and loss of love and companionship. An experienced DUI victims’ lawyer will be able to advise victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.