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Orange County Man Killed in San Bernardino DUI Collision


An Orange County man was killed in a DUI collision after a driver fleeing authorities crashed head-on into his vehicle on the Highway 138 in San Bernardino. According to a news report in The San Bernardino Sun, the pursuit began when California Highway Patrol officials noticed a gray Toyota Corolla cross a double yellow line into oncoming traffic the afternoon of April 23, 2010. The woman, who was driving the car, began to pull over but then sped up suddenly.

The following police chase, which reached speeds of up to 100 mph, ended when the Toyota crossed into opposing highway lanes and struck a Chevy Camaro head-on. The 46-year-old Santa Ana resident, who was driving the Camaro, died instantly, officials said. The driver of the Toyota, identified as Zimmie Lynn Burnath, 45, also sustained major injuries. She was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI, vehicular manslaughter and evading authorities.

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

Car Accident Statistics

There were 30 fatalities and 1,066 injuries involving San Bernardino car accidents in 2008, according to CHP’s traffic accident statistics. In San Bernardino County as a whole, 263 fatalities and 8,503 injuries involving car accidents were reported during the same year.

DUI and Vehicular Manslaughter

Under California law, driving with an blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent is illegal. 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, as Burnath 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.”

Wrongful Death

The victim’s family in this case would be well-advised to retain the services of an experienced California personal injury lawyer, who has a successful track record of financially pursuing drunk drivers. Where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, families of deceased car accident victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation to cover funeral expenses, lost future earnings, loss of love and companionship, and other related damages.

Are you in favor of installing Ignition Interlock Devices or IIDs in all vehicles as a means to prevent DUI accidents?

The Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.

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