A driver suspected of being under the influence crashed into customers eating outside a popular café sending at least one person to the hospital. According to CBS Los Angeles, officials said the driver, 21-year-old Piper Pollard of the Pacific Palisades, was arrested for felony DUI. Detectives said it appeared Pollard was driving northbound on Main Street the night of Feb. 12 when she struck a portion of a concrete barrier surrounding the extended dining area at Urth Caffe.
Customer Suffers Injuries
A witness said he heard a boom and what ensued was chaos. Another witness described the pandemonium after the pillar fell onto a diner’s leg. Fellow customers ran to lift the barrier off the man and firefighters arrived within minutes to help. The person taken to the hospital had suffered moderate injuries and is expected to survive. Witnesses also said it seemed like the driver who crashed into the diners was operating the vehicle recklessly and wasn’t paying attention. An investigation is ongoing.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured victim. We wish him the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver was under the influence when she crashed into the outdoor dining area at Urth Caffe. Outdoor dining areas have become the norm during most of the pandemic when restaurants have not been able to serve patrons indoor due to COVID-19 health protocols. However, this has led to traffic hazards where impaired or distracted drivers could potentially crash into diners, as in this case. It is indeed fortunate that the customer wasn’t catastrophically injured.
It is illegal to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in California. 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.”
In such cases, in addition to facing criminal charges and penalties, impaired drivers can also be held civilly liable for the injuries, damages and losses they cause. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, pain and suffering and emotional distress. They would also be well advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles DUI victims’ lawyer who will stay on top of the official investigation, protect their rights and help ensure that they receive maximum compensation for their losses.