A woman died in a Costa Mesa car accident the night of Nov. 18 after the vehicle she was driving was hit by a truck and burst into flames on the 55 Freeway. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the woman was driving her Toyota Corolla on the northbound 55 Freeway north of Mesa Drive. Kevin Michael Bash, 26, of Whittier was driving a Dodge Dakota going in the same direction and rear-ended the Corolla.
The impact reportedly caused the Corolla to catch fire. Firefighters attempted to put out the blaze, but the driver of the Corolla was pronounced dead at the scene. California Highway Patrol evaluated Bash on the scene and arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence. Officials are still investigating the incident and are asking anyone with information to call CHP’s Santa Ana office at 714-567-6000.
Our deepest condolences go out to the family members of the woman who was killed in this tragic crash. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Statistics and DUI Laws
According to the CHP’s 2015 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were four fatalities and 84 injuries reported as a result of DUI crashes in the city of Costa Mesa. In Orange County as a whole, 64 people died and 1,310 were injured due to DUI collisions during the same year.
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of Dodge rammed the woman’s Toyota Corolla from behind, which officials say, caught fire and caused the victim’s fatal injuries. Under California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a), it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is also against the law to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher.
Justice for the Victim’s Family
In such cases where negligence is a factor, families of deceased DUI victims can seek compensation for damages by filing a wrongful death claim. In this particular case, it might also be in the family’s best interest to look into why the Toyota Corolla caught fire on impact. An expert can examine the vehicle and determine if there were any design defects or other flaws that might have caused or contributed to the fiery crash.
Families of victims in such cases would be well advised to contact a knowledgeable Orange County personal injury lawyer who also has extensive experience handling auto defect lawsuits. If a vehicle defect caused or contributed to the death, the automaker can also be held liable.