Two Lompoc women – Susan Gosling, 54 and Diane Lange McBurney, 69 – were killed in a November 27, 2008 head-on collision involving a suspected drunk driver, the Lompoc Record reports. The 11/27/08 crash occurred on Highway 246 east of Lompoc when a Nissan driven by 21-year-old Angelica Arias went out of control and collided head-on with the Ford Escape SUV Gosling and McBurney were in.
California Highway Patrol officials said the Nissan ran off the right side of the road into the field and then back across the highway and into the eastbound lane, where it crashed into the Ford Escape near Mission Gate Road. Gosling was pronounced dead at the scene and McBurney died later in an area hospital. Arias had emergency surgery for internal injuries, but is said to be in stable condition. Arias was apparently driving away from an event at a neighboring golf course and officials are investigating the involvement of alcohol in this incident. Eyewitnesses told officials that Arias was speeding, following too closely and driving erratically.
An unfortunate and tragic accident! Here were two women traveling on Thanksgiving Day and they are involved in a horrific accident caused by a clearly negligent (and perhaps drunk) driver. My heart goes out to the families of Susan Gosling and Diane Lange McBurney. They will certainly be in my prayers.
Fatal traffic collisions are apparently rare in Lompoc. According to CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Reporting System, there were 103 injury traffic accidents in 2006, out of which 20 involved alcohol.
Based on what eyewitnesses said about Arias’ driving right before the crash occurred, I suspect alcohol may have been a factor in this tragic fatal head-on collision. Arias should be held criminally and civilly responsible for causing this accident and the resulting fatalities – whether she was drunk or not. If this newspaper report is accurate, even if she was not intoxicated, she was driving erratically and in a negligent manner with callous disregard for her own safety and the safety of others on the road.
I’d urge the families of Susan Gosling and Diane Lange McBurney to retain the services of a reputed California auto accident attorney, who will help them pursue their legal rights. Where there is negligence or wrongdoing involved, families of deceased auto accident victims can file wrongful death claims. Such claims compensate victims’ families for the loss of a family member who has been killed because of someone else’s negligence.