Girardi | Keese

DUI, murder charges filed after California motor vehicle accident

It can be tragic enough for California families to lose loved ones in a car crash that involves alcohol. Finding out that the alleged drunk driver has an existing record of drunk driving can prove to be even more devastating. Any time that a motor vehicle accident could have been avoided -- such as when a drunk driver is reportedly involved -- that only seems to compound the tragedy for both relatives and the community at large. This may have been the case in one recent collision that left three relatives dead.

The three who were fatally slain, a mother along with her 23-year-old and 15-year-old sons, were heading out to eat with a fourth occupant in their vehicle. California officials report that the 28-year-old driver accused of drunk driving was actually in the process of fleeing from a less serious fender bender accident. He was said to have reached speeds of up to 60 mph just before he smashed into the family's vehicle, fatally injuring the relatives and injuring the oldest brother's girlfriend, who fortunately survived the collision.

Authorities also revealed that the 28-year-old driver was actually on probation at the time of the fatal crash due to a prior DUI conviction. This, coupled with what they called a "gross disregard" for the safety of others prompted them to charge him with not just vehicular manslaughter and drunk driving, but also second degree murder. He could face some severe penalties in the event that California prosecutors obtain a conviction against him.

Still, that may seem like cold comfort to relatives left grieving the lives taken away in this motor vehicle accident. They may wish to enact one further civil penalty against the man, if possible. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court, they may be able to gain financial restitution that could go a long way toward repaying any final expenses caused by the accident. Similarly, it could also help provide for dependent family members who may have depended on any of the slain victims for financial support.

Source: San Jose Mercury News, "Sunnyvale man charged with murder for drunken Peninsula crash, DA says," Joshua Melvin, June 28, 2013

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