Brian C. Sgambati, 23, was killed in a Riverside car accident, after a suspected drunk driver crashed head-on into his motorcycle early morning on December 17, 2009, The Press Enterprise reports. Sgambati was riding his motorcycle along Limonite Avenue in Mira Loma when 56-year-old Valentin Feliciano, who was driving a 1993 Chevy pickup truck, struck Sgambati head-on. Sgambati succumbed to his injuries. Feliciano, who officials say has had several prior DUI arrests, was arrested this time on suspicion of drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter.
My heart goes out to everybody who knew and loved Sgambati for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. I offer my deepest sympathies to his family and friends. Here was a young life taken away suddenly because of a negligent driver, who police say had not one, but several prior drunk driving arrests. Tragic!
Alcohol-Related Car Accidents
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2007 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), 279 fatalities and 9,925 injuries were reported as a result of car accidents in Riverside County. Out of that, 129 fatalities and 1,279 injuries were caused by alcohol-related car accidents. Also, countywide, motorcycle accidents claimed 41 lives and injured 562 people in 2007.
Drunk Driving Laws in California
Driving under the influence is a serious crime under California law. 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 may be charged with gross vehicular manslaughter when a drunk driver causes an accident that seriously injures or kills someone other than the driver. California Penal Code Section 191.5 (a): “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, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence.”
How an Experienced Injury Lawyer Can Help
Sgambati’s family would be well-advised to consult a reputed Riverside car accident lawyer, who is experienced in financially pursuing drunk drivers. A skilled car accident lawyer will make sure the family’s rights are protected and will secure fair compensation for their loss. Given his prior record, I would not be surprised if Feliciano did not have car insurance. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney will also advise the family about how their own car insurance policy will apply in an accident case that involves an uninsured or underinsured driver.
The Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.