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Thousand Oaks DUI Auto Accident

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Oxnard DUI Auto Accident Kills Woman

Elisa Laura Failauga, 22, of Oxnard was killed in a Thousand Oaks SUV rollover crash the morning of March 12, 2009, the Ventura County Star reports. The rollover accident occurred on the northbound Highway 101 just south of Westlake Boulevard when 20-year-old Desirie Osuna lost control of her sport utility vehicle. The SUV went onto the right shoulder, broadsided a tree, overturned and came to rest on its roof, California Highway Patrol officials said. Failauga, a passenger in the SUV, was trapped in the vehicle’s right front seat. She had to be extricated from the SUV and was pronounced dead at the scene. Osuna was taken to the hospital with injuries. She was later arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of Elisa Laura Failauga for their tragic and untimely loss. I offer my deepest sympathies to everyone who knew and loved Failauga. Please keep them in your prayers. Here was a young woman who died because another woman, who probably was her friend, decided to drink and drive. Tragic!

According to California Highway Patrol’s 2006 traffic accident statistics, out of six auto accident fatalities in Thousand Oaks, three were alcohol-related. In Ventura County as a whole, there were 75 total auto accident deaths in 2006 out of which 31 were alcohol-related.

Not only is it poor judgment to drink and drive, but it is also against California law, which states that no one shall operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher. 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.”

In this case, there is definitely liability on the part of Osuna for the wrongful death of Elisa Laura Failauga. If I were representing Failauga’s family, I would also have an expert thoroughly examine the roof of the SUV. Although this news report does not specify the make and model of the SUV that was involved in this crash, it is well established that the cause of catastrophic injuries and deaths in most SUV rollover accidents is poor vehicle roof strength. What happens in these cases is that when the vehicle is on its roof, the structure caves in crushing the occupants who are trapped inside. Roofcrush accidents have resulted in severe brain and spinal cord injuries as well as deaths.

Failauga’s family would be well-advised to consult with a reputed California auto product liability lawyer, who has extensive experience dealing with incidents of rollover and roofcrush. The federal standard for vehicle roof strength is more than 35 years old and auto makers have taken advantage of this obsolete safety standard by manufacturing vehicles, especially SUVs that are prone to roll over, with weak roofs. Rollover accidents are said to be responsible for one-fourth of all traffic accident fatalities in the United States each year.

Our source for this blog was the Ventura County Star news report.

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