Ramon Celaya, 20, died from injuries sustained in a Riverside car accident, which officials say was caused by a suspected drunk driver. According to a news report in The Press-Enterprise, the DUI crash occurred the night of September 29, 2012. California Highway Patrol officials say Celaya was driving along Highway 74 near Winchester Road. At the time, 26-year-old Edilberto Sixtos was fleeing the scene of a hit-and-run collision when he crossed over the double yellow line and veered into Celaya’s Toyota Tacoma.
Celaya, Sixtos and two teenagers were transported to an area hospital with major injuries. Sixtos was arrested on suspicion of DUI and hit-and-run causing injury. Celaya died from his injuries the evening of October 2, 2012. Officials expect to file more charges against Sixtos in connection with the fatal collision.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Ramon Celaya for their tremendous loss. This grieving family will be in my thoughts and prayers. I also wish the injured victims the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
According to CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 190 fatalities and 7,632 injuries involving traffic accidents in Riverside County in the year 2010. Of those, 69 deaths and 930 injuries involved DUI crashes.
Violation of Laws
Based on this news report, Sixtos was not only involved in a hit-and-run accident, but he was also operating a vehicle under the influence, possibly speeding and driving recklessly. Officials say this caused him to veer into opposing lanes of traffic and crash head-on into the victim’s vehicle.
Under California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a), driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is illegal. 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). Officials have stated Sixtos was fleeing the scene of an injury crash, which is illegal under California Vehicle Code Section 20001 (a).
Rights of Victims’ Families
In such cases, where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, the family of a deceased victim can file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party seeking compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost future income and benefits, funeral costs, and loss of love and companionship. Victims’ families would be well advised to contact an experienced Riverside personal injury attorney who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected. For more information about the dangers of driving under the influence, please visit the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) web site at www.madd.org.