A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after causing a serious injury car accident in Garden Grove on June 29 according to a report in the Mercury News (http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_9837766). Robert Moran, who has worked for the sheriff’s department for 18 years, was reportedly on his way to an investigation in Huntington Beach, when he ran a red light and crashed his sheriff department’s Chevy Trailblazer into a 1999 Mazda Protégé at the intersection of Beach and Garden Grove boulevards according to the LA Times.
Elias Aldana, 37-years-old and his passenger in the car suffered serious injuries. Aldana’s injuries are said to be “life-threatening”. Let’s hope the best for Aldana and his passenger.
Moran was been arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence after a Garden Grove police officer on the scene “detected alcohol on his breath”. Moran was released after posting bail, but has been put on administrative leave by his department pending the outcome of the criminal investigation. I applaud the Garden Grove police officer for doing the right thing instead of hiding Moran’s alleged intoxication behind the “badge of silence”.
According to the 2008 Annual Report of the California DUI Management Information System, alcohol-involved traffic fatalities rose by 1.5% in 2006, continuing the rising trend that started in 1999 after well over a decade of continuous decline. It is always outrageous when someone you expect to uphold and enforce the law breaks it. But it is all the more ironic in this case as the sheriff’s deputy was on his way to an investigation – possibly drunk himself.
From all the news accounts Moran and his employer – in this case, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department – will be held responsible for. Aldana’s and his passengers injuries and will owe them compensation.
Suing a powerful police agency is a significant challenge. Aldana and his family would be well-advised to retain the services of a California personal injury attorney with the experience, skill and fortitude to pursue the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Not just any personal injury attorney is up to the task.
Remember, because this is a claim against a governmental agency, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, a governmental claim needs to be properly made within six months of the accident. Then, if not settled, a lawsuit must be filed within six months of a denial of the claim. Failure to following these timing sequences will result in the loss of all rights to compensation.