Kelly Morehouse, 25, was killed in a motorcycle accident, which officials say, was caused by a suspected drunk driver. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the fatal crash occurred at Goldenwest Street and Rio Vista Drive near Central Park. Police say Morehouse's boyfriend was driving a black 2012 Harley Davidson motorcycle south on Goldenwest the night of June 1, 2013 when it collided with a northbound blue 2010 Lexus sedan driven by 68-year-old Tadashi Mizutani.
Morehouse and her boyfriend were taken to a local hospital. Morehouse died at the hospital. Her boyfriend suffered leg fractures, but was in stable condition. Mizutani was arrested shortly after the incident on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and causing injury.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Kelly Morehouse, who by all accounts was a beloved member of her family and the community. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
According to California Highway Patrol's 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were four fatalities and 107 injuries involving DUI crashes in Huntington Beach. In Orange County as a whole, 45 people died and 1,317 were injured due to drunk driving collisions during the same year.
Drunk Driving Laws
Based on this news report, it appears that police suspect Mizutani was under the influence at the time. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a): "It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle." A driver whose act of driving under the influence results in the death of another will also likely face vehicular manslaughter charges under California Penal Code section 191.5 (a).
Compensation for Victims and Families
In such cases, in addition to criminal charges, drivers can also be held civilly liable for the injuries, damages and losses caused. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries and pain and suffering. Families of deceased victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for medical and funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship. An experienced Huntington Beach personal injury lawyer will be able to advise injured victims and their families in such cases regarding their legal rights and options.