Jolene Gardner, 33, and her daughter, 9-year-old Payton Castillo, were killed in a crash on the 22 Freeway in Garden Grove early morning on Jan. 1. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the fatal multi-vehicle crash occurred in the westbound lanes of the freeway east of Valley View Street. California Highway Patrol officials said Gardner and Castillo were occupants of an overturned pickup truck.
The girl was pronounced dead at the scene and her mother was rushed to an area trauma center where she too died from her injuries. A third child in that vehicle, a 10-year-old boy, was transported to an area hospital with injuries. A male driver of a BMW that was involved in the collision was arrested on suspicion of DUI. The investigation is still ongoing.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family members of Jolene Gardner and Payton Castillo for their tremendous loss. We also wish the other victims the very best for a speedy and complete recovery. Please keep everyone who was affected in your thoughts and prayers.
DUI Statistics and Laws
Three people died and 44 were injured in the city of Garden Grove in 2015 as a result of DUI-related crashes, according to CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). In Orange County as a whole, 64 fatalities and 1,310 injuries were reported due to DUI crashes during the same year.
Based on this news report, it appears that this multi-vehicle collision might have been triggered by a suspected drunk driver. The period between Thanksgiving and New Year is among the riskiest when it comes to DUI crashes. It is against the law to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a) also states that it is against the law to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher.
Justice for Victims and Families
Families that have lost loved ones in a DUI crash may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver and potentially other parties depending on the nature and circumstances of the incident. For example, if the DUI driver was on the job at the time, then his or her employer can also be held liable. Families in such cases would be well advised to contact an experienced Orange County DUI victims’ lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and help ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.