Eric Phan, 34, of Midway City, was fatally injured after a suspected drunk driver crashed into the vehicle in which he was a passenger.
According to a report in the Orange County Register, the fatal crash occurred on the interchange connecting the southbound 57 Freeway in Orange to the westbound 22 after a 2012 BMW driven by Rebecca Munoz, 22, of Santa Ana, slammed into the back of a 2002 Jeep Liberty driven by 36-year-old Neil Raboy of Huntington Beach.
Raboy was transported to an area trauma center with major head injuries. Phan died from his injuries. Munoz was uninjured, but was arrested on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family members and friends of Eric Phan for their tragic loss. We also wish Raboy, the injured victim, the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
Orange County DUI Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2012 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were two fatalities and 73 injuries due to DUI collisions in Orange.
Countywide, 56 people died and 1,346 were injured due to drunk driving crashes during the same year.
California Drunk Driving Laws
Based on this news report, it appears that the BMW driven by Munoz rear-ended the Jeep carrying Phan and Raboy. Driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is illegal under California law. Officials say Munoz was under the influence at the time.
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).
Justice for DUI Victims
In such cases, in addition to facing criminal penalties, DUI drivers can also be held civilly liable for the injuries, damages and losses they cause. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Families of deceased victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages including medical and funeral costs, pain and suffering, lost future income and loss of love and companionship.
Victims and families would also be well advised to contact an experienced Orange County personal injury attorney who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.