A man was seriously injured in a Costa Mesa bicycle accident, which officials said, involved a hit-and-run driver who was also possibly under the influence. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the bicyclist was struck by a car near the intersection of 19th Street and Monrovia Avenue. The driver fled the scene. The bicyclist suffered injuries including lacerations and a lower-leg fracture.
He was alert when officers arrived and gave a description of the car that hit him. Officers began searching for a gray Mercedes-Benz with front-end damage. They spotted the car a few blocks away on 18th Street. Officers pulled the car and initiated a DUI investigation. The driver, 22-year-old Aya Ibish, was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI causing injury and felony hit-and-run. The investigation is ongoing.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured bicyclist. We wish him the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2013 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but 89 injuries reported as a result of bicycle accidents in the city of Costa Mesa. In Orange County as a whole, nine people died and 1,039 were injured due to bicycle accidents during the same year. Also, countywide, 60 deaths and 1,235 injuries were reported as a result of DUI collisions.
Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver in this case was not only under the influence at the time of the crash, but she also left the scene of an injury crash. Under California Vehicle Code 23152 (a) it is illegal to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Also, it is against the law for motorists to leave the scene of an injury or fatal car accident. Drivers are required to stop immediately, remain at the scene, exchange information with all parties involved and most importantly get help for injured victims.
In such cases, in addition to facing criminal charges, at-fault drivers can also be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses caused. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitative treatment, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced Orange County bicycle accident lawyer who will help protect their rights and secure maximum compensation for their losses.