Joseph Awaida, 30, and his 3-year-old son, Omar, were killed in a pedestrian accident in Long Beach on Halloween night, which officials say, was caused by a suspected drunk driver. According to a KTLA news report, the toddler was walking along a sidewalk with his father and mother when the group was struck by a 2002 Toyota Sequoia traveling south on Country Club Drive. The SUV was approaching Los Cerritos Park when the driver failed to make a turn and drove onto the sidewalk.
Injuries and Fatalities
The 20-year-old driver, Carlo Navarro, was arrested on suspicion of DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter. The victims were all transported to nearby hospitals with critical injuries. Awaida died from his injuries the following morning. His son Omar succumbed to his injuries. Omar’s mother, Raihan Dakhil was also severely injured but has survived the crash.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for this family’s medical expenses and funeral costs. Anyone with information can call Long Beach Police Detective Sirilo Garcia at 562-570-7355. Police are also looking for surveillance video that might have captured the incident or show what was happening in the moments before the crash.
We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family members of the victims. Our thoughts and prayers are also with Raihan Dakhil, who was the sole survivor of this crash. We wish her the best for a speedy and complete recovery.
DUI Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, it appears that the family that was out trick-or-treating on Halloween night was struck by a suspected drunk driver. Under California law (California Vehicle Code 23152), it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. 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), as Navarro does in this case.
In addition to facing criminal charges and penalties, drivers in such cases could also be looking at financial liability. Injured victims and families of deceased victims could file a lawsuit against a drunk driver. Such lawsuits could seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, pain and suffering and loss of love, care and companionship. An experienced Long Beach car accident lawyer who specializes in DUI auto collisions will be able to fight for the rights of accident victims.