The state of California has rules that all motorcycle riders must follow. They're required to wear helmets, pass rigorous proficiency tests and even have limits on how high their handlebars can be. Most motorcyclists in the state adhere to the rules, which make for a safer riding experience. Unfortunately, these requirements don't always protect them from reckless drivers.
A 22-year-old Southern California man who loved riding and working on motorcycles was killed earlier this month when another man lost control of his vehicle and ran into him. Police believe the other driver was intoxicated at the time, and that it wasn't his first drunk-driving incident. In addition to felony charges of murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident, he's facing a misdemeanor for driving while his license was suspended for a previous drunk-driving conviction.
The accident happened while the young motorcyclist was heading home from work, riding in the carpool lane on the 105 Freeway. As usual, he was riding legally and complying with all the rules of the road. But a van traveling nearby suddenly went out of control and ran into the motorcycle, pinning the young man against the median. Making matters worse, the van didn't stop after forcing the motorcyclist off his bike, according to the California Highway Patrol. When an officer who witnessed the crash finally pulled over the van, the driver passed out behind the wheel -- clearly intoxicated, the officer said.
The van's driver could get up to 15 years in prison, but for the motorcyclist's family, it's a short time compared to a life without their loved one. The young man dreamed of a career either working on cars and bikes or driving a truck. He loved being on the road, yet his life was cut short by someone who appears to have continually broken the rules.
In addition to the emotional toll a death like this takes on a victim's loved ones, there are monetary expenses to cover. A local auto club has arranged a fundraiser to help the man's family cover his funeral expenses, but the family may also want to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the van driver to ensure that he takes financial responsibility for the crash.
Source: dailybreeze.com, "Del Aire man's death at hands of suspected drunk driver devastates family, friends," Larry Altman, Jan. 25, 2013
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