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Bicyclist Killed in Orange County Crash

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Haitham Gamal, 38, of Dana Point, was killed in a bicycle accident, which officials suspect, may have involved an impaired driver. The Orange County Register reports that the bike crash occurred the night of April 29, 2014 along Pacific Coast Highway near the Green Lantern intersection. Gamal was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver and passenger were also hospitalized when their 2001 Acura sedan overturned after hitting the bicyclist. The driver of the Acura was only identified as a 19-year-old man. He and his 18-year-old passenger were transported to an area hospital with head trauma. No citations or arrests have been reported pending an official investigation.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Haitham Gamal for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Crash Statistics

There were no fatalities, but six injuries reported as a result of bicycle accidents in Dana Point, according to California Highway Patrol’s 2011 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). In Orange County as a whole, 13 people died and 1,315 were injured as a result of bike crashes during the same year. Also, countywide, 51 deaths and 1,265 injuries were reported due to DUI collisions during the same year.

Drunk Driving Laws

Based on this news report, it appears that the underage driver may have been under the influence of alcohol at the time. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23136: “It is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years who has a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test, 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 addition to facing criminal charges, drunk drivers can also be held liable for the injuries, damages and losses they cause. In this case, the injured passenger can seek compensation from the at-fault driver for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. The family members of the deceased victim can file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for damages including medical and funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship. An experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer will be able to advise victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.

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