Drunk driving suspected in California crash that killed passenger

Posted on in Car Accidents

California may have its share of public transportation options, but the vast majority of the state's residents still rely on automobiles to get them where they need to be. We're such a car-dependent state that we rarely stop to consider the risks we face as both drivers and passengers. But the reality is that an accident can happen at any time through no fault of our own.

A car accident that killed a woman who was riding in the front seat of a sedan may have been caused by a drunk driver, according to the California Highway Patrol. It was almost 11 p.m. last Friday when the accident happened in Concord, California, on state Highway 4. A 23-year-old Napa woman was riding with a friend in a Mazda sedan when a Honda accord made an unsafe lane change and collided with their car.

The impact caused the Mazda driver to lose control and go off the road, eventually crashing into a light post, the CHP said. From there it went down an embankment and into a dirt field. The driver, a 29-year-old Napa resident, suffered serious injuries, including broken ribs and vertebrae, and was rushed to a hospital. The passenger suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Meanwhile, the driver who caused the crash stopped afterward in the center median. A CHP trooper arrested the 32-year-old man on suspicion of drunk driving. He was preliminarily charged with felony DUI and manslaughter.

What makes this case especially tragic is the fact that it could have easily been prevented. The highway patrol had received a dispatch report saying that the Honda driver was suspected of driving drunk based on his erratic driving. It's unfortunate that troopers didn't manage to catch up with him before the accident happened, but the driver also had the choice of not getting into his car at all if he was intoxicated. Instead, one person's life was lost and another person was seriously injured. The only recourse for those victims may be to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit demanding the driver pay for the victims' medical, funeral and burial expenses.

Source: CBS San Francisco, "Napa Woman Dies In Crash With Suspected Drunk Driver On Hwy 4," Aug. 25, 2012

· Our firm handles situations similar to the one described in this post. To learn more about our practice, visit our San Jose car accidents page.

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