A police officer who was seriously injured when he was struck by a suspected drunk driver is facing a long road to recovery, The Orange County Register reports. Officer Sharif Muzayen was on a call in a residential area of Orange when a woman suspected of driving under the influence crashed into him as he stood behind his police cruiser. Muzayen suffered severe injuries below the waist and remains in intensive care. Officials say he has a very long road ahead of him.
The driver, 27-year-old Ashley Victoria Bertolino, has been charged with felony counts of driving under influence causing injury. She also faces a charge of driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more causing bodily injury. Police say Bertolino drifted toward the curb and crashed into the officer. She is accused of having a BAC of 0.13 percent and being under the influence of drugs while going 40 mph in a 25-mph zone.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the severely injured officer and his family members. We hope his injuries are not catastrophic and that he will make a complete recovery despite having a long road to recovery.
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2013 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were two fatalities and 86 injuries reported as a result of DUI collisions in the city of Orange. Countywide, 60 people died and 1,235 were injured as a result of DUI collisions during the same year.
California DUI Laws
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver was not only under the influence of alcohol and drugs, but was also traveling at an unsafe rate of speed and drifted toward the curb when she struck the officer who was doing his job. 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.” It is also illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher.
Justice for Victims
In such cases, in addition to facing criminal charges DUI drivers can also be held financially responsible for the victims’ injuries, damages and losses. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities and pain and suffering. Injured victims would also be well advised to contact an Orange County DUI victims lawyer who will remain on their side, fight for their rights and help ensure that they receive maximum compensation for their tremendous losses.