Gerald Weiss, 52, was fatally injured in a Riverside County car accident when a suspected drunk driver struck his bicycle. According to a news report in The Press Enterprise, the DUI collision occurred at the intersection of Fred Waring Drive and Bryson Court in Indian Wells, the night of June 2, 2012. Officials say a Chrysler Sebring, driven by 24-year-old Christopher Eugene Stocman of La Quinta, struck Weiss from behind. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Stocman was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and many friends of Gerald Weiss following this tragic bicycle accident. They will be in my thoughts and prayers as they grieve the loss of a loved one.
Riverside County DUI Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities but one injury reported as a result of alcohol-related crashes in the city of Indian Wells. Throughout Riverside County, 87 fatalities and 986 injuries occurred due to DUI collisions, during that same year.
California DUI Laws
Based on this news article, the driver of the Chrysler was under the influence at the time of the accident. Under California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a), it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. A driver whose act of driving under the influence results in the death of another will likely face vehicular manslaughter charges.
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.”
In cases where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, the family of a deceased victim can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages including medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income and benefits, loss of love and companionship, and other related damages. Victims’ families would be well advised to contact an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer, who will stay on top of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected. For more information about the dangers of driving under the influence, please visit the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) web site at www.madd.org.