One person was injured in a San Bernardino hit-and-run collision the morning of December 12, 2013. According to a news report in The Press-Enterprise, the injury crash occurred on the northbound Interstate 15, north of Kenwood Avenue. California Highway Patrol officials say a Hyundai Elantra swerved into an adjoining lane of northbound traffic and was struck in the rear by a northbound Toyota Tacoma. The driver of the Tacoma complained of chest and back pain.
However, the driver of the Elantra, who apparently caused the crash, took off. He was spotted leaving the scene of the crash by an investigator with the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office. The investigator stopped the vehicle. CHP officers, who investigated, later determined that the driver of the Elantra was under the influence of a controlled substance. The female driver, Shelley Valadez, 57, was arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and driving under the influence.
Different studies show that a majority of hit-and-run collisions involved drivers who are under the influence or those who do not have a valid driver’s license or auto insurance. California law requires all motorists to stop in the event of an injury or fatal accident. California Vehicle Code 20001 (a) states: “The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident.” Stopping and remaining at the scene of a crash is not only the law, but it’s also the right thing to do.
Compensation for Victims
Based on this news report, it appears that this driver was not only under the influence, but was driving dangerous, swerved into a lane of traffic, caused a collision and then attempted to flee the scene. It is indeed fortunate that the DA’s investigator happened to be driving by and stopped the fleeing hit-and-run driver. I’m relieved to note that the driver has been apprehended.
Hit-and-run victims would be well advised to contact an experienced San Bernardino personal injury lawyer who will fight to protect their rights and help ensure that they are fairly and fully compensated for their losses. In such cases, injured victims can seek compensation from the at-fault parties for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can also advise victims about how the uninsured motorist clause of their own auto insurance policy might apply to an incident where the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured.