Sophia Tiaré Bartlow, a 26-year-old, stand-up paddle champion from Orange County was killed in a car accident in the north shore of Oahu the night of January 28, 2017. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, Bartlow was a passenger in a car driven by a 35-year-old man identified as her friend, Sage Candelaria. He lost control of the car and hit a large tree. Police said alcohol and excessive speed contributed to the fatal crash. Candelaria was arrested on suspicion of first-degree homicide, drunk driving and driving without a license.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family members of Sophia Bartlow for their tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers are also with all her friends in the Southern California surfing and stand-up paddle boarding community who say they will miss her smile and positive spirit.
DUIs in Orange County
According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driving under the influence is a national problem. Each day, 28 people nationwide die in an alcohol-related car accident. That’s one person every 53 minutes. Even though DUI crashes have fallen by a third in the last three decades, the chance of being in such a crash is still one in three over the course of one’s lifetime. Deaths and injuries from DUI crashes contribute to a cost of $52 billion a year.
How Alcohol Affects Driving Ability
Alcohol reduces brain function and impairs thinking, reasoning and muscle function. All these abilities are essential for the safe operation of a vehicle. When alcohol levels rise in a person’s system, the negative effects on the central nervous system increase, too. Alcohol is absorbed directly through the walls of the stomach and the small intestine. It then passes into the bloodstream where it accumulates until it is metabolized by the liver. This is called blood alcohol concentration (BAC). It is illegal anywhere in the U.S. to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. Even a small amount of alcohol can affect your ability to drive.
Passengers who are injured in DUI crashes have rights as do family members of passengers who are killed in such accidents. An experienced personal injury lawyer who has successfully handled these types of cases will be able to pursue the at-fault driver on behalf of victims and their families and help them secure fair compensation for their tremendous losses. These tragic stories are also a somber reminder for all of us to never drink and drive, or get in a car with a driver who has been drinking.