David Mendez, 22, was killed in a Riverside bicycle accident, which officials say, involved a suspected drunk driver. According to a news report in The Press-Enterprise, the fatal collision occurred the afternoon of January 5, 2014. Police say Mendez was riding a bike east on Central Avenue in the far left lane about three-quarters of a mile west of Victoria Avenue when a driver struck him from behind. Mendez, who was wearing a helmet, suffered fatal injuries and died at a local hospital. The driver was detained at the scene and officials, but it is not clear if he was arrested. Officials suspect that the driver was under the influence. The investigation is ongoing.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of David Mendez for their tragic loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2011 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), two fatalities and 94 injuries were reported as a result of bicycle crashes in the city of Riverside. Also, during the same year, 74 people died and 842 were injured due to DUI crashes countywide.
California DUI Laws
Driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher is illegal 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.” 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).
Fault and Liability
In such cases, in addition to facing criminal charges, drunk drivers can also be held financially responsible for the injuries and damages they cause. Families of deceased DUI victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for medical and funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship. Victims’ families would be well advised to contact an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer who has successfully financially pursued drunk drivers on behalf of injured victims or their families. The best personal injury law firms will always offer a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation to injured victims and their families.