Girardi | Keese

Woman pleads no contest in Los Angeles fatal car accident

On Sept. 14 of last year, several bicycle riders were traveling through Boyle Heights in Los Angeles. A drunk driver plowed through the group of bicycle riders, killing one rider. Recently, that driver pleaded no contest in connection with the fatal car accident.

When the woman struck one of the cyclists, she ended up dragging him under her car for several hundred feet. A second vehicle also struck the then 22-year-old man; he did not survive. Two more bicycle riders suffered injuries. One cyclist reported that she came up behind the group and ran into them. He remembers overturning and smacking into the ground.

The drunk driver fled the scene. Police later located her and took her into custody. The woman was originally charged with vehicular homicide, DUI with injury and fleeing the scene of an accident. She is expected to receive a sentence of three years and eight months in a California prison at her sentencing. A hearing has been scheduled for April 22.

A number of bicyclists were in the Los Angeles courtroom when the driver entered her plea. They were outraged by the leniency of her sentence, and the mother of the deceased rider expressed disgust. The family's dissatisfaction with the outcome of the criminal proceedings could fuel their desire to achieve additional justice on the victim's behalf through the filing of a wrongful death claim related to the bicycle vs. car accident. The family could offer proof of the criminal conviction as evidence of the woman's negligence in a related civil proceeding. A successfully litigated claim could lead to an award of damages and, hopefully, some peace of mind.

Source: ktla.com, Drunk Driver Who Killed 22-Year-Old Cyclist in Boyle Heights Pleads No Contest, Melissa Pamer, March 20, 2014

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