Archives for : March2014

Fatal Drunk Driving Accident In Fremont Claims Life Of Marine

People who are in the military, as well as their family and friends, often assume that the greatest danger to their life is being deployed to a dangerous warzone. Hardly does it cross anyone’s mind that the danger exists at home. But this was the case for a Union City Marine this month who was struck and killed by a drunk driver roughly a month after returning home from a deployment to Afghanistan.

Police were alerted to a suspected drunk driver before 1 a.m. by an employee at a Fremont Taco Bell. The driver, a 23-year-old man from Emeryville, fled from police at a high rate of speed before colliding with the Marine who was riding a motorcycle at the time of the fatal accident. Reports indicate that the driver’s vehicle then struck a utility pole and caught fire. The driver tried to run, but police eventually caught up with him and took him into custody.

Because of the Emeryville man’s negligent decision to drink and drive, the also 23-year-old Marine lance corporal lost his life.  And while police have charged the driver with hit and run causing death or injury and on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, this may be little comfort to the Marine’s family who is likely still grieving their loss.  For them, additional justice may be sought in the form of a wrongful death lawsuit.  Compensation awarded from a settlement would likely be used to cover funeral costs and may help the family move on from this very preventable tragedy.

Source: The Los Angeles Times, “Marine just returned from Afghanistan struck, killed in Bay Area,” March 26, 2014

How Prominent Are Uninsured Drivers In Santa Rosa?

Recently, the consumer finance website called ValuePenguin looked at car insurance data from 2013 that had been collected by the California Department of Insurance. Researchers wanted to know one simple question: which cities in the state have the highest insurance premiums? Because higher insurance rates can equal more uninsured or underinsured drivers among low-income families, we wondered where residents in Santa Rosa stood and how likely running into this kind of motorist would be.

According to the data, people who live in Southern California often pay higher car insurance premiums than residents here in Northern California. Researchers believe this has a lot to do with traffic density and the likelihood of an accident. As readers of our blog know, car accidents can happen anywhere. Fortunately for residents in Santa Rosa, which ranked 72 out of 210 according to ValuePenguin, because of low insurance rates, you may be less likely to run into an uninsured or underinsured driver.

While this may sound like good news, it’s important to keep in mind the problems that can arise when uninsured or underinsured drivers cause a car accident. In many cases, an accident victim is forced to turn to their own insurance provider to help cover the costs that the at-fault driver could not cover. This could add to the already existing frustrations and may even require legal advice as well.

While it’s highly likely that insurance coverage is good here in Santa Rosa, there are always exceptions to the rule. When this is the case, it’s important for people to know that they can seek legal counsel, especially if they require compensation to cover bills associated with injuries or wrongful death.

Source: KPCC Public Radio, “Report: Glendale has the highest car insurance in California,” Wendy Lee, Mar. 11, 2014

Drunk Driving Leads To Fatal Pedestrian Strike In Carmel Valley

A deadly pedestrian accident in Carmel Valley just days ago is once again highlighting the dangers of drinking and driving for not only our readers here in Santa Rosa but others across the state this month. And while the driver has been arrested and is being held in the Monterey County Jail at this time, investigators from the California Highway Patrol say that they need more evidence before a final decision can be made about the case.

The main hold up may have to do with the fact that both the driver and the pedestrian were intoxicated at the time of the serious accident. Police say that the 25-year-old pedestrian had been drinking at a local restaurant with her friends late one night when she decided to walk home instead of drive. But this proved fatal when she was struck by a 28-year-old driver who was also intoxicated. The pedestrian later died at a local hospital from her catastrophic injuries.

Although the driver admitted to police that she felt a bump and continued to drive after the accident, she says she eventually turned around to see what she had hit. Police say that she stayed at the accident scene when she realized she had hit a person.

But investigators admit that a crucial piece in the case will be determining where the pedestrian was when the accident occurred. Had she been walking on the shoulder or was she in the middle of the road? As our readers can imagine, the answer to this question will help investigators determine who was at fault in the crash while also helping the accident victim’s family decide whether they will file a wrongful death claim or not later on.

Source: KSBW News, “Carmel Valley woman arrested after fatal crash,” Amy Larson, Mar. 10, 2014

Man Convicted In Motorcycle Accident That Killed Biker

Santa Rosa residents are aware that our local highways are busy thoroughfares with a variety of vehicles. When traveling, it is important that all drivers be aware of who is also on the road. Cars, buses, tractor-trailers and motorcycles have to stay vigilant and alert, because that is the best way to avoid accidents.

Any motor vehicle accident is a serious issue, but when a passenger vehicle and a motorcycle collide, the results can be tragic, especially for the biker. In an accident last year, a 22-year-old motorcyclist was killed in an accident with a 31-year-old man driving a passenger van. The man lost control of the van and veered into another lane, striking the biker. The biker was then pinned to the median by the vehicle. However, instead of remaining on the scene, the driver of the van took off. He was spotted further down on the 105, sleeping.

He was taken into custody. According to authorities, his blood-alcohol level was 0.15, almost twice the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle. He was also found to be driving on a suspended or revoked license. He also had prior DUIs, one of which he was still on probation for at the time of the motorcycle accident.

On Feb. 28, a jury found the man guilty of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, second-degree murder, misdemeanor driving with a suspended or revoked license and leaving the scene of an accident. The man will be sentenced on March 17. He could face a maximum sentence of 20 years to life in a state prison.

The family of the man who was killed might find closure in knowing the person who caused their loved one’s death will be held accountable for his crimes. However, the family may also be able to seek financial relief from the man. Pursuing compensation could result in damages awarded to cover final expenses, medical bills, pain and suffering and loss of companionship. Those who finds themselves in a similar, tragic situation can seek the guidance of an experienced legal professional who can help a grieving family determine the best course of action for them.

Source: Daily Breeze, “Compton man convicted of murder in traffic death of motorcyclist” No author given, Mar. 01, 2014