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Fatal Seven-Car Crash in Tarzana Involves Suspected DUI Driver

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One person was killed in a seven-car crash, which officials say, involved a suspected drunk driver. According to a news report on CBS Los Angeles, the fatal crash occurred the night of December 16, 2013 in the 19200 block of Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana. Police say the male driver of a gray Ford Taurus was going east on Ventura Boulevard at a high rate of speed when he crashed into six vehicles stopped at an intersection.

An unidentified 60-year-old woman, who was in the first car to be struck by the Taurus, died at the scene. The suspected drunk driver then went to a nearby convenience store, purchased a six-pack of beer and began drinking before the paramedics tended to him, officials said. The suspect was transported to an area hospital even as he was telling paramedics loudly: “I need beer.” Three others suffered non-life-threatening injuries. So far, not arrests have been made.

Los Angeles DUI Statistics

According to California Highway Patrol’s 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 79 fatalities and 1,989 injuries involving DUI crashes in the city of Los Angeles. Countywide, 197 people died and 4,359 were injured due to alcohol-related collisions during the same year.

Laws and Liability Issues

It is illegal to drink and drive 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. 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, in addition to criminal charges, DUI drivers can also be held civilly liable for the injuries, damages and losses they cause. Families of deceased victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking damages such as medical and funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship. Injured victims can also seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. An experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer will be able to advise injured victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.

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