A female driver was seriously injured after a DUI suspect crashed into her vehicle during a police pursuit, CBS Los Angeles reports. Police say the two-mile chase started around 10:30 p.m. February 20, 2014 and ended in a crash at the intersection of Dover and Mariners drives. The driver of a black Mercedes sedan allegedly drove through a stop sign and crashed into a Toyota Prius injuring its driver.
Many nearby residents said they saw the crash occur. Neighbors saw a man “screaming in agony” and said they heard a woman crying. The victim was transported to a local hospital in serious condition. The 43-year-old driver of the Mercedes, identified as Benjamin Scanlan of Newport Beach was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
We hope the victim did not suffer life-threatening injuries in this case. We wish her the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2011 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were five fatalities and 398 injuries reported as a result of car accidents in Newport Beach. In Orange County, 128 people died and 13,541 were injured due to traffic accidents during the same year. Also, 51 of those deaths and 1,265 injuries were the result of DUI collisions.
What Initiated the Police Pursuit?
Based on this news report, an innocent bystander was injured during a police pursuit in Newport Beach. In such cases, it is important to ask the question: What initiated the police pursuit? Was the driver operating his vehicle dangerously? Did officers explore other options than giving chase? Did the danger posed by this driver supersede the safety of the commuting public?
The injured victim of a DUI driver can file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party for compensation of medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, physical therapy, chiropractic care and other related damages. A skilled Newport Beach personal injury lawyer will also be able to advise victims about how their own car insurance policy might apply to an incident involving an uninsured or underinsured driver.
In such cases, it might also be a good idea to examine whether the police agency conducting the pursuit followed their own protocols, or whether they unnecessarily put public safety at risk. In addition to the drunk driver, the police agency may also be held liable for the injuries, damages and losses caused. Please remember that any such personal injury claim against a governmental agency must be properly filed within 180 days of the accident or injury, under California Government Code Section 911.2.