Jose Antonio Azpeitia, 48, was killed in a Costa Mesa car accident, which officials said, was caused by a hit-and-run driver who was under the influence. According to a CBS Los Angeles news report, the incident occurred the evening of Dec. 4 when a driver rammed into two cars on the southbound 55 Freeway just before Del Mar Road. Police say Azpeitia was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle.
The driver who caused this four-car pileup on the freeway fled the scene, officials said. Azpeitia was apparently coming back from one of his children’s soccer games and was on the way to dropping off his brother and niece. A bystander spotted the mangled hit-and-run vehicle and called police, which led to the driver’s arrest. The investigation is still ongoing.
We offer our deepest condolences to the Azpeitia family for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
California’s Hit-and-Run Laws
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver who caused this crash was not only under the influence, but also fled the scene in his damaged after causing a fatal injury. Leaving the scene of an injury or fatal collision is a felony crime under California law. California Vehicle Code Section 20001 (a) requires all motorists to stop immediately at the scene of a crash, exchange pertinent information with other parties involved and most importantly, render aid to the injured.
This assistance could be something as simple as calling 911 or getting the injured person medical aid as soon as possible. Prompt medical aid and treatment can be crucial and can make the difference between life and death in many cases.
Justice for Victims and Families
We often hear about hit-and-run cases that remain cold, where drivers are never apprehended or punished for committing a heinous crime. It is indeed a relief to note that the driver in this case has been identified and apprehended. According to news reports, a GoFundMe campaign has been started to benefit Azpeitia’s family. In major injury or fatal hit-and-run cases, it is unfortunately common for victims and their families to struggle financially in addition to the grief and emotional turmoil they experience.
In such cases, victims and their families would be well advised to reach out to an experienced Orange County car accident lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and help ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected. An experienced lawyer will also be able to advise regarding reimbursement from one’s own auto insurance policy if the at-fault driver lacks insurance or doesn’t have sufficient insurance coverage.