At least two people including a suspected drunk driver were injured in a Placentia car accident the night of April 27, 2014. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the injury collision occurred at Placentia Avenue and Bastanchury Road. Officials say San Pedro resident, Joseph Maes, 22, ran a red light at the intersection, lost control of his vehicle and crashed into four cars injuring himself and a passenger. Maes and a female passenger were trapped in their vehicle and extricated by firefighters. They were transported to a local trauma center. Both are expected to survive. No one else is believed to have been injured. The investigation is ongoing. Maes was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI.
DUI Collisions in Orange County
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2011 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 51 fatalities and 1,265 injuries reported as a result of DUI collisions in Orange County. Also, countywide, 128 people died and 13,541 were injured due to traffic collisions during the same year.
Violation of Laws
Based on this news report, preliminary official investigations show that the driver in this case was not only under the influence when he was driving, but ran a red light at the intersection and crashed into other vehicles. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a): “It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.” Also, California Vehicle Code section 21453 (a) states: “A driver facing a circular red signal shall stop at the limit line before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection, and shall remain stopped until an indication to proceed is shown.”
In such cases where there is negligence or wrongdoing on the part of drivers, injured passengers do have rights. Injured passengers can seek compensation from the at-fault driver for damages including medical expenses, emergency transportation, hospitalization, lost wages, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. If the driver is uninsured or underinsured, passengers may also be able to seek compensation through their own auto insurance policy. Victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.