A 6-year-old girl, who was playing in a neighbor’s front lawn, identified as Gracie Aguilar, was struck and killed by a suspected drunk driver whose blood alcohol concentration was nearly three times the legal limit. According to a CBS Los Angeles news report, the fatal crash occurred the afternoon of Feb. 17 in the 1400 block of Lombard Street. Neighbors, who were shocked and saddened by this senseless tragedy, told CBS that the girl was playing with her younger brother when the out-of-control vehicle jumped the curb and hit her.
Neighbors and Gracie’s mother ran out right away and saw the girl lying in a pool of blood. The girl was transported to a local hospital, but died soon afterward. The driver, identified as 52-year-old Maximino Delgado, was arrested and charged with felony DUI, felony vehicular manslaughter and driving on a suspended license. He remained at the scene and took a breath test, which showed a blood alcohol of concentration or BAC or 0.23 percent, which is three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family of this little girl and the community, which has been plunged in grief. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver was under the influence of alcohol when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into the child. Under California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a), it is illegal to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. It is also against the law to drive with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. 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). In addition, this drive was also operating with a suspended driving license. It is unclear whether his license was suspended for a prior DUI.
In such cases, in addition to facing criminal charges, drunk drivers can also be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses. Families of victims would be well advised to contact an Orange County DUI victims’ lawyer who will help them better understand their legal rights and options.