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Wilmington Head-On DUI Crash Kills Teen

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A suspected drunk driver may have caused a head-on crash on December 15, 2008 in Wilmington that killed 17-year-old Lionel Molina of Long Beach. His 22-year-old brother, who has not yet been identified, has been hospitalized in critical condition, according to this news report in the Daily Breeze. Officials said 31-year-old Marlon Roldan was driving a 2000 Chevrolet van at a high rate of speed West on Anaheim Street near Foote Street when he lost control and veered into opposing lanes of traffic. Roldan suffered only minor injuries after slamming into the Chevy Blazer carrying the Molina brothers..

My heart goes out to the Molina family. Here were two young men returning home from church and they’re hit by a drunk driver. Heartbreaking! I offer my deepest condolences to Lionel Molina’s family. Not only have they lost one child, they have another fighting for his life. Please keep this injured, young man in your prayers. I wish him the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.

I hope Roldan is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. He has been arrested on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. California Penal Code Section 191.5 (a) states: “Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought in the driving of a vehicle…and the killing was either the proximate result of the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, and with gross negligence, or the proximate result of the commission of a lawful act that might produce death.”

I think that Roldan must be held both criminally and civilly liable for the accident, injuries and damages caused. The Molina family would be well-advised to retain the services of an experienced California auto accident attorney, who has an excellent track record of handling drunk driving accidents.

In this case, if I were representing the Molina family, I would also examine the Chevy Blazer the young men were in, for any product defects. In any auto accident, you want to be absolutely certain that the fatal or critical injuries were not caused by defective products in the vehicle such as the seatbelts, seatbacks or a weak roof.

A reputed California auto product defect lawyer will be able to determine whether the Chevy Blazer’s poor design contributed to Lionel Molina’s death or his brother’s injuries.
The Chevy Blazer, especially the older models, is one of the most unstable SUVs on the road. The Blazer has a long history of rollover accidents, restraint system failures and defective seatbelts. There are instances where seat belt failures in the Blazer have caused occupants to be thrown around inside the SUV or ejected out of the vehicle. An expert analysis of the seat belt fibers, buckles, anchors and retractors will indicate whether there were any failures in the restraint systems.

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    R.I.P. Lionel “Cuco” Melena class of ’09

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