Latrina Leeshell Woodberry, 34, and her daughter, Lauren Rideau, 11, were killed in a San Bernardino car accident involving a hit-and-run driver. According to a news report in The Press Enterprise, the fatal hit-and-run accident occurred along Highway 395 at Smoke Tree Road in Victorville, the afternoon of October 10, 2011.
Woodberry was driving a 2001 Ford Explorer when a Dodge pickup turned left toward a driveway, in front of her. The Explorer went out of control and struck a telephone pole. Woodberry and Lauren suffered fatal injuries, while Woodberry’s 8-year-old son was airlifted to a trauma center. The driver of the Dodge fled the scene of the crash. Police later arrested the driver of the pickup, identified as 31-year-old Luis Arroyo, on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, and hit-and-run causing death and injury.
My heart goes out to the family and friends of Latrina Leeshell Woodberry and Lauren Rideau following this tragic hit-and-run car accident. My thoughts and prayers are also with the young boy who seems to have suffered major injuries. I wish him in the very best for a complete and speedy recovery.
Car Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), 16 people were killed and 261 were injured in Victorville car accidents. During that same year, 223 fatalities and 7,870 injuries occurred as a result of San Bernardino County car accidents.
Violations of the Law
Based on this news report, the driver of the pickup truck not only made an unsafe left turn in front of the Ford, but was also under the influence of alcohol and fled the scene of the crash. Driving under the influence is illegal under California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a). A driver whose act of driving under the influence results in the death of another will likely face vehicular manslaughter charges under California Penal Code Section 191.5 (a).
Arroyo also left the scene of a fatal car crash, which is not only unconscionable, inhumane and irresponsible, but also illegal. California Vehicle Code Section 20001 (a) states: “The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident.”
In this particular case, Arroyo, in addition to facing criminal charges, can be held financially responsible for the victims’ wrongful death and injuries and damages caused. Victims’ families in such cases would be well-advised to contact an experienced San Bernardino personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected. A skilled car accident attorney will also inform victims’ families about how their own auto insurance policy applies to a case where the at-fault motorist is uninsured or underinsured. For more information about the dangers of driving under the influence, please visit the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) web site at www.madd.org.