Two members of a Southern California family who were killed in a head-on collision in Fresno have been identified as 23-year-old Vilai Her and 7-month-old Isaac Her of Camarillo. According to this news report in the Ventura County Star, Lily Saechao, 22, along with Her and their son, Isaac, were traveling south on Highway 99 in Tulare County early morning on February 2, 2009 when a man driving a pickup truck the wrong way struck the family’s sport utility vehicle head-on.
Both Vilai Her and Isaac died from their injuries. Saechao, who was the driver, suffered major injuries and was taken to an area hospital. The couple were wearing their seat belts and their son was properly restrained in a car seat, California Highway Patrol officials said. Salvador Leon, 37, the wrong-way driver, also sustained major injuries. Investigators believe Leon was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the fatal crash. Leon had apparently been driving on the highway in the wrong direction for about 3 miles before the crash occurred. He is facing felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter charges.
I offer my deepest sympathies to Lily Saechao and other family members and friends. It is heartbreaking that this family was destroyed because of the negligence and the irresponsible behavior of a drunk driver. Tragic! I wish Saechao the very best for a quick and complete recovery.
The wrong-way driver in this case must be held criminally and civilly responsible for his wrongdoing. It is against California law to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and drugs – recreational or prescription. According to California Penal Code Section 191.5 (a): “Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, in the driving of a vehicle…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.”
The family of the deceased victims would be well-advised to consult a reputed Fresno auto accident attorney who will help protect their rights and secure them the compensation they rightfully deserve. In this case, this family is faced with an extremely tough situation. Not only do they have to bury two of their loved ones, but they also have to take care of one other family member who is still in the hospital. In cases where negligence or wrongdoing is involved the families of deceased victims are also eligible to file wrongful death claims that could compensate them for medical/funeral expenses, loss of wages and companionship.