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Fatal Los Angeles Car Accident Involves Suspected Drunk Driver


Nia Marie Lopez, 19, was killed in a Los Angeles car accident, which officials say, was caused by a suspected drunk driver. According to a news report in The San Gabriel Valley Tribune, the fatal car accident occurred in the 2800 block of East Cortez Street in West Covina early morning on March 18, 2011. The car in which Lopez was a passenger careened over an embankment and crashed into a fence and tree. The driver of that car, 21-year-old William Garzon, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Nia Marie Lopez for their devastating loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

DUI Statistics

According to California Highway Patrol’s 2008 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but 60 injuries due to DUI collisions in West Covina. In Los Angeles County as a whole, alcohol-related crashes claimed 258 lives and injured 4,832 people during the same year.

California DUI Laws

Under California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a), it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle 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, as Garzon 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 Victims’ Rights

In such cases where negligence or wrongdoing may be involved, the family of a deceased victim can file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault motorist seeking compensation for medical and funeral costs, lost future income, loss of companionship and other related damages. The family of a victim would be well-advised to seek the counsel of a reputed Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, who has the experience and a successful track record of holding drunk drivers financially responsible. For more information about the dangers of drunk driving, please visit the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) web site at

Lost a family member in a Los Angeles County car accident? Want to know your rights? Want to know what your case is worth? Want compensation? Want justice? Want to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to another family?

Call your best friends in the legal industry after a fatal West Covina car accident. Call 800-481-8656. The call is free. The advice may be priceless.

Call a Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer for a free professional evaluation of your rights by attorneys who have been representing families of deceased accident victims since 1978. You will experience award winning representation and outstanding personal service by a compassionate and understanding law firm in a comfortable environment.

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