Gretel Maritza Martinez, 23, was fatally injured in a Bakersfield car accident, which officials say, involved an underage drunk driver. According to an ABC news report, the fatal car accident occurred early morning on May 21, 2011 near the intersection of Coffee Road and Stockdale Highway. Officers found a critically injured Martinez lying at the intersection. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officials say Martinez was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped at a red light. She apparently got out of the car when she became ill. Martinez and another passenger were outside their vehicle, when a passing car struck Martinez. The other passenger was not injured. The vehicle fled southbound without stopping at the scene. Shortly after the crash, the parent of a 16-year-old called officials saying the girl may have struck someone at the location where officers were investigating the hit-and-run accident. Based on physical evidence at the scene, officials determined that the teenager was the hit-and-run driver who had struck Martinez. She has been charged with DUI greater than 0.08, hit-and-run, and vehicular manslaughter.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Gretel Maritza Martinez for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2008 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 14 fatalities and 140 injuries involving DUI collisions in Bakersfield. In Kern County as a whole, alcohol-related crashes during the same year claimed 35 lives and injured 476 people.
Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver was not only under the influence, but she also struck and killed Martinez, and then left the scene without taking responsibility or offering help to the injured victim. Leaving the scene of a car accident is an appalling act of cruelty, which shows callous disregard for a fellow human being. I’m relieved that she has been apprehended.
Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is a violation of California law. 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). Leaving the scene of a car accident is a violation of California Vehicle Code Section 20001 (a).
In such cases where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, the victim’s family can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income and benefits, and other damages. Victims’ families would be well-advised to contact an experienced Bakersfield personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected. For more information about the dangers of driving under the influence, please visit the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) web site at www.madd.org.
Lost a family member in a Bakersfield car accident? Want to know your rights? Want to know what your case is worth? Want compensation? Want justice? Want to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to another family?
Call your best friends in the legal industry after a fatal Kern County DUI accident. Call 800-481-8656. The call is free. The advice may be priceless.
Call a Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys Bakersfield wrongful death lawyer for a free professional evaluation of your rights by attorneys who have been representing families of deceased accident victims since 1978. You will experience award winning representation and outstanding personal service by a compassionate and understanding law firm in a comfortable environment.