Michelle Marie Maxwell, 42, was killed in a Bakersfield car accident after officials say her vehicle was struck by an off-duty firefighter who was driving drunk and ran a red light. According to a news report in The Californian, the fatal car crash occurred the night of February 2, 2010 at Panama Lane and Ashe Road when 30-year-old Mitchell Green ran a red light in his Ford-150 pickup truck at the intersection and crashed into the passenger side of a Hyundai. Maxwell died at the scene. Michaela, Maxwell’s 15-year-old daughter who was driving the Hyundai, also sustained injuries. Green was also injured, but was arrested on suspicion of felony drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter.
My heart goes out to the Maxwell family for their sudden and devastating loss. Michelle Maxwell was apparently on her way with her daughter to sign a quilt for a young leukemia patient. Tragic! I offer my deepest sympathies to everyone who knew and loved this woman. Please keep the Maxwell family, especially her three children, in your thoughts and prayers.
DUI Car Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2007 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were eight fatalities and 141 injuries involving DUI car accidents in Bakersfield. In Kern County as a whole, 42 people lost their lives and 507 were injured as a result of alcohol-related traffic accidents during the same year.
Drunk Driving Laws in California
It is extremely disappointing to hear that a firefighter, who is supposed to save lives, would make such a choice – to get behind the wheel intoxicated and end up causing a fatal accident! Driving under the influence is a serious crime under California law. It is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher in California.
A driver whose act of driving under the influence results in the death of another will likely face vehicular manslaughter charges, as Green does in this case. 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.”
Protecting Their Legal Rights
In such cases, victims and their families would be well-advised to consult an experienced Bakersfield personal injury lawyer who will make sure that the negligent parties are held accountable for their actions. A knowledgeable car accident attorney should also advise the family about how their own car insurance policy will apply in an accident case that involves an uninsured or underinsured driver. This accident, again, underscores how drunk driving devastates families and the lives of the survivors.
The Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.