Three teenagers — Alani Aguerre, 14, Miles Polger, Ian Brininstool — sustained severe injuries in a San Diego car accident, which officials, say was caused by a drunk driver with several past DUI convictions. According to a news report in The San Diego Union Tribune, the teens were injured the night of August 15, 2010 while walking on the sidewalk along La Jolla Boulevard, close to Midway Street. A Chrysler New York driven by 66-year-old Ronald Troyer jumped the sidewalk colliding with the three teens, and then, slammed into The Cass Street Cafe & Bakery. Two people inside the bakery – Jeffrey and Sharon Macelli were also injured. Thankfully, their injuries are not life-threatening.
My heart goes out to the three teens, especially Alani Aguerre, who has been the most severely injured and is preparing to go into surgery. Apparently, she was carried about 20 yards on the car’s hood, thrown through a glass window and then pinned underneath the car. Heartbreaking! I wish Alani, Miles Polger, Ian Brininstool and the Macellis the very best for a speedy and complete recovery. All these victims and their families will be in my thoughts and prayers.
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2008 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 246 fatalities and 13,527 injuries as a result of car accidents in San Diego County. Of those, 104 deaths and 2,033 injuries occurred as a result of DUI collisions during the same year.
Drunk Driving Laws
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.” The penalties for drunk driving increase for repeat offenders. In this case, the driver, Troyer, has been convicted twice in 2005 for DUI, and again in 2006, 2007 and 2008 for driving with a suspended or revoked license. His license has been suspended seven times since 2004. Even at the time of this incident, Troyer was driving without a valid license, the news report states.
Repeat DUI Offenders
Alani’s father, Santiago Aguerre, tells the Union-Tribune: “It’s like releasing a serial killer from prison, handing them a gun and sending them off on their own.” I could not have said it better myself. States such as Arizona cancel a person’s driver’s license after three DUI convictions. We have no such law in California. Several states require Ignition Interlock Devices for first-time DUI offenders. We are yet to implement such a law statewide here in California. What is being done to prevent drivers from simply piling on DUI convictions and keep repeating the offenses? Nothing much. Alani’s and the other teens’ serious injuries never would have happened if people like Troyer were not out there driving.
Injured victims or their families in such cases would be well-advised to contact an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer, who will ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected. In this particular case, it is highly unlikely that Troyer had auto insurance. Victims in these types of accidents may be able to seek compensation through the uninsured/underinsured clause of their own auto insurance policy. For more information about DUI legislation in your state, please visit MADD’s web site at www.madd.org.
Do you believe the DUI penalties in California are adequate to deter drunk drivers?
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.