Jessica Ordaz, 29, was killed in a head-on car accident, which officials say, involved a suspected drunk driver who is an elementary school principal in Lancaster. According to a City News Service report, the fatal accident occurred the evening of Nov. 15. California Highway Patrol officials say a 2014 Jeep Wrangler driven by 35-year-old Mary Kruppe was traveling south on 50th Street East, north of Avenue P when she drove into opposing lanes of traffic and collided head-on with a 2010 Mazda 3, killing the driver.
Ordaz was pronounced dead at the scene. Kruppe, who is principal at a local elementary school, was transported to an area hospital with moderate injuries. Officials said alcohol was a factor in the collision and arrested Kruppe on suspicion of DUI.
Our deepest condolences go out to the family members of Jessica Ordaz for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
DUI Statistics and Laws
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2015 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were six fatalities and 75 injuries reported as a result of DUI collisions in the city of Lancaster. In Los Angeles County as a whole, 179 people died and 4,527 were injured as a result of alcohol-related car accidents during the same year.
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the Jeep, Kruppe, may have been under the influence of alcohol at the time. Under California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a), it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
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).
Liability Issues and Victims’ Rights
In such cases where negligence and wrongdoing are involved, families of deceased car accident victims may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, pain and suffering and loss of love, care and companionship.
If a driver who is operating under the influence was on the job at the time of the crash, his or her employer could also be held liable for the injuries, damages and losses sustained by the victim or victim’s family. An experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer who represents DUI victims and their families will be able to advise affected individuals regarding their legal rights and options.