Jonathan Cuevas, 20, was fatally injured in a Riverside car accident, which officials say involved a suspected drunk driver. According to The Press-Enterprise, the incident occurred the morning of June 9, 2012. Cuevas was a passenger in a 1995 Isuzu Rodeo being driven by an 18-year-old and traveling east on Arlington Avenue near Fairhaven Drive. The vehicle rounded a curve at a high rate of speed when the driver lost control. The Isuzu SUV rolled numerous times. Cuevas was ejected from the vehicle. Officials suspect that he was not wearing a seatbelt. The driver was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries, and was determined to have been under the influence at the time.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and many friends of Jonathan Cuevas for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Riverside DUI Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), alcohol-related crashes in Riverside caused 12 fatalities and injured 152 people. In Riverside County as a whole, 87 people died and 986 were injured due to DUI collisions, during the same year.
California DUI Laws
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the Isuzu Rodeo was under the influence at the time of this fatal collision. 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 where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, the family of a deceased victim may be able to file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, and loss of love and companionship. The victim’s family would be well advised to contact an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected. 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.