Hemet Police Officer Doug Barrett, 30, sustained major injuries in a hit-and-run collision, which officials say, was caused by a suspected drunk driver. According to a news report in The Press Enterprise, the driver of a Honda Accord broadsided the police car the night of July 13, 2010, at the intersection of State Street and Acacia Avenue in Hemet. Witnesses told police that the driver of the Honda ran a red light. Both cars crashed into a third car that was waiting at a red light at the intersection.
Barrett was trapped inside his cruiser. The female driver of the Honda Accord fled on foot. Barrett was transported to a local hospital and remains in serious condition. Police later arrested the hit-and-run driver, 32-year-old Tonya A. Zajac, on suspicion of felony DUI causing injury.
My heart goes out to the injured officer Doug Barrett. I hope he has not sustained catastrophic injuries and pray that he recovers quickly and completely from his injuries. He will be in my thoughts and prayers.
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2008 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were four deaths and 38 injuries involving DUI collisions in Hemet. In Riverside County as a whole, 101 people died and 1,090 were injured as a result of alcohol-related crashes during the same year.
Car Accident Laws
Based on this news report, officials say Zajac violated several laws. They say she was driving under the influence, drove through a red light and caused the accident and then left the scene of the injury crash. Driving under the influence is a serious crime under California Vehicle Code section 23152 (a) which states: “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.” Running a red light is a violation of California Vehicle Code section 21453 (a) and leaving the scene of an accident is illegal under California Vehicle Code section 20001 (a).
In such cases where negligence or wrongdoing is apparent, it would be in the best interests of injured victims to seek the counsel of an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the official investigation and make sure that their legal rights are protected. A knowledgeable injury lawyer will also advise victims about how their car insurance policy might apply to a hit-and-run collision or to an incident involving an uninsured or underinsured driver.
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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.