A 26-year-old man was sentenced on July 10 in connection with a DUI accident in which his blood alcohol content registered between .10 and .18 percent, well over the legal limit. The accident occurred at approximately 11:15 p.m. on January 10, 2014. Five passengers rode with the man as they reportedly drank at the home of one of the individuals, later traveling to two bars and a grocery store as they continued to consume alcohol throughout the evening.
One of the witnesses testifying against the driver indicated that the intoxication of the men was visible at one of the bars where they had stopped and that she suggested contacting a cab to prevent them from driving. However, the men left in the defendant's SUV. Two of the five passengers survived the crash and were able to report that the driver laughed while speeding prior to the accident. The passengers reportedly requested that the man slow down, but he lost control while nearing 100 miles per hour on a transition ramp. One passenger was fatally crushed inside the vehicle. The other passengers were ejected, and two of the four died.
The driver in this case was convicted on charges of DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter. However, the prosecution was not successful in obtaining a conviction on second-degree murder. In addition to the 18-year prison sentence, the driver was ordered to make restitution to two of the surviving families. Restitution to the remaining families will be determined at another time.
Deadly auto accidents can create a great deal of turmoil for those who lose their loved ones. In a similar case, a small amount of restitution might not cover the funeral and burial expenses faced by the family members. Wrongful death litigation might be pursued with the assistance of an attorney to address the loss of companionship and support that may have resulted from a fatal accident.
Source: Fox 5 San Diego, "Drunk driver who killed 3 passengers sentenced to 18 years", Jason Sloss, july 11, 2015