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Man Killed in Los Angeles DUI Collision


George Deirkarkourian, 23, was killed in a Los Angeles County car accident after his vehicle was hit by a suspected drunk driver. According to a news report in The Walnut Patch, the fatal crash occurred early morning on April 29, 2012 on the 60 Freeway just west of Brea Canyon Road. California Highway Patrol officials say Deirkarkourian was driving a 2001 Ford and had slowed down because of traffic when he was rear-ended by a speeding 2012 BMW driven by Sheng-Ting Shih, 32, of Walnut. The impact of the collision caused the Ford to strike two other vehicles. Deirkarkourian died at the scene of the crash. Shih was arrested on suspicion of DUI. An investigation is ongoing.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of George Deirkarkourian for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Alcohol-Related Crashes

According to CHP’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), one person died and 19 were injured in alcohol-related crashes in Diamond Bar. In Los Angeles County as a whole, 204 fatalities and 4,672 injuries occurred involving DUI collisions, during the same year.

Violation of Laws

Based on the news account, Shih was under the influence when the fatal collision occurred. In addition, CHP officials also say that the BMW was traveling at a high rate of speed. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a): “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.” A driver whose act of driving under the influence results in the death of another will likely face vehicular manslaughter charges under California Penal Code Section 191.5 (a).

California Vehicle Code Section 22350 (Basic Speed Law) states: “No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic and on surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.”

Wrongful Death Claim

In such cases, where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, in addition to being held criminally responsible, the at-fault party can be held financially liable for the losses sustained by victims or their families. The family of a deceased victim can file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, and loss of love and companionship. An experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer will be able to better advise victims or their families about their legal rights and options.

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