Louisa Valdovinos, 55, of Menifee, was killed in a Riverside car accident, which officials report involved a suspected drunk driver. According to a news article in The Press Enterprise, the fatal DUI collision occurred on Winchester Road south of Scott Road near Menifee, during the early morning hours of January 29, 2012. Officials say 30-year-old Jason M. Richter, of Oceanside was under the influence of alcohol when his Pontiac Grand Am drifted into oncoming traffic and struck a Toyota Corolla. The driver of the Corolla, Valdovinos, died at the scene of the crash. Richter sustained critical injuries, while his wife suffered moderate injuries. Richter may face DUI and vehicular manslaughter charges.
My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Louisa Valdovinos following this tragic DUI collision. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Riverside DUI Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), four people were killed and 18 were injured in Menifee DUI collisions. During that same year, alcohol-related crashes in Riverside County claimed 87 lives and injured 986 people.
California DUI Laws
Based on this news report, Richter was under the influence of alcohol when he veered into oncoming traffic. Under California Vehicle Code Section 23152, it is illegal for anyone to operate a motor vehicle 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.
California Penal Code Section 191.5 (a) states: “Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, in the driving of a vehicle, where the driving was in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 of the Vehicle Code, and the killing was either the proximate result of the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, and with gross negligence, or the proximate result of the commission of a lawful act that might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence.”
The family of a DUI victim would be well advised to contact an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer, who has a successful track record of financially pursuing drunk drivers. In such cases where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, the family of a deceased car accident victim can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, lost future wages and benefits, loss of companionship, and other related damages. 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.