A Lyft driver, who is accused of falling asleep at the wheel and causing a crash in Tustin that left his 70-year-old passenger dead, has been charged with manslaughter.
According to a report in The Orange County Register, Andy Van Pham, 30, was driving his vehicle when he fell asleep near Jamboree Road and Patriot Way and crashed into a light pole on the morning of April 4.
Tustin police identified the passenger as Margie Quibol of Tustin, who died from her injuries.
Pham was taken into custody on July 21 and held on $10,000 bail. He pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter charge, as well as charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, providing false information to a police officer, and making an unsafe turn or land change, according to court records. Lyft fired Pham and said in a statement that it would assist law enforcement in any way it can.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowsy driving is a major problem in the United States and is responsible for numerous car accidents. Drowsy driving is the dangerous combination of driving and fatigue. This usually happens when a driver has not had enough sleep.
But, it could also happen due to untreated sleep disorders, medications, drinking alcohol, and shift work. Falling asleep at the wheel is extremely dangerous, but being sleepy affects your ability to drive safely even if you don’t fall asleep. Drowsiness makes drivers less attentive, slows reaction time, and affects a driver’s ability to make decisions.
Liability of Rideshare Companies
When a passenger is injured or killed in a Lyft or Uber accident, the amount of compensation or insurance coverage may depend on a number of factors. If the rideshare driver was transporting a passenger and caused an accident, the rideshare company could be held accountable if the driver was on the app and in the process of transporting the passenger who called for the ride through the rideshare app.
Rideshare companies often try to get off the hook by saying their drivers are independent contractors. If you have been injured in an Uber or Lyft accident or if you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of a rideshare driver, it is imperative that you seek the counsel of an experienced Orange County car accident lawyer to explore your legal rights and options.