Rocio Martinez Lopez, 36, was killed in a car accident in Tulare County after her vehicle was hit by a suspected drunk driver, the Fresno Bee reports. California Highway Patrol officials say the fatal crash occurred the night of July 1, 2010, when Lopez was driving her 2007 Honda Civic east on Highway 190. At the time, a driver of a 1998 Ford F-150 pickup, who was southbound on Road 152, ran a stop sign and struck Lopez’s Honda, officials said. The driver of the pickup was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. Both he and his 29-year-old passenger, Jose Corrales-Delgado, were transported to an area hospital with major injuries.
My heart goes out to everyone who knew and loved Rocio Martinez Lopez for their tragic and devastating loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
According to CHP’s 2008 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were two fatalities and 20 injuries involving DUI collisions in Porterville. In Tulare County as a whole, 21 people died and 214 were injured as a result of alcohol-related crashes during the same year.
Drunk Driving Laws
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious violation of 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 whose act of driving under the influence results in the death of another will likely face vehicular manslaughter charges. 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, where the driving was in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 of the Vehicle Code, 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.”
In such cases, the family of the deceased victim would be well-advised to seek the counsel of an experienced California personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the investigation and make sure that the negligent parties are held accountable. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer will also advise families about how their own car insurance policy might apply to an incident where the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured.
Should California require all first-time DUI offenders to install an Ignition Interlock Device in their vehicles?
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.