Three drivers were arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in connection with a San Diego car accident that involved four vehicles. According to a news report in the North County Times, the injury collision occurred on the 5 Freeway in Encinitas, near Leucadia Boulevard. California Highway Patrol officials say Todd C. Winter was driving a Ford Focus when he crashed into a big-rig the morning of July 2, 2010. Winter then abandoned his car and his passenger 30-year-old Sean Elder, who was in the front seat of the Ford, which remained in oncoming traffic lanes. The driver of the big-rig also fled the scene.
Moments later, a Honda Accord driven by 38-year-old Lance D. Encinas collided with the Focus seriously injuring Elder. Soon after that, the driver of a Corvette, 49-year-old James F. Jonas, failed to see the two cars ahead and struck them. Winter, who was later located, Encinas and Jonas were all arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. Elder and Encinas sustained major injuries and were transported to a local hospital for treatment.
My heart goes out to Elder who was initially abandoned in the car and then seriously injured after getting hit twice. I hope he has not suffered catastrophic injuries and pray that he recovers quickly and completely from his injuries.
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2008 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were two deaths and 30 injuries involving DUI collisions in Encinitas. In San Diego County as a whole, 104 people died and 2,033 were injured as a result of alcohol-related car accidents during the same year.
Car Accident Laws
Based on this news report, it appears that the three drivers may have been under the influence in this case. Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs 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.” Also, in this case, two of the drivers left the scene of the crash. Only one, Winter, has been apprehended. The driver of the truck, which Winter initially crashed into, drove away from the scene of the accident. Hit-and-run is also a serious crime under California Vehicle Code section 20001 (a).
Protecting Victims’ Rights
In such cases, injured victims would be well-advised to contact an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that the negligent parties are held liable for the accident, injuries and damages. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer will also advise victims about how their car insurance policy might apply to a hit-and-run collision or to an incident where the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured. For more information about the dangers of drunk driving, please visit the Mothers Against Drunk Driving web site at www.madd.org.
What more should California legislators do to prevent repeat DUI offenders from getting behind the wheel? We would like to hear your comments and suggestions on this important issue.
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.