A 19-year-old driver has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after a head-on collision in Temecula that killed 15-year-old Lily Harrison. According to a KTLA news report, the crash occurred the evening of June 1 on Rancho California Road east of Via Santa Rosa. California Highway Patrol officials say Jose Zazueta, 19, was behind the wheel of a 2015 BMW headed westbound on Rancho California when he lost control of the car while navigating a curve.
Fatality and Injuries
Officials say the BMW was traveling at least about 55 mph when it crossed over the double yellow lines and into oncoming traffic, colliding head on with a Toyota Corolla. Harrison was a passenger in the Toyota. The Toyota’s 18-year-old driver and an 18-year-old passenger both suffered major injuries and were taken to an area hospital. Zazueta’s BMW careened down an embankment following the collision. He was taken to a hospital with moderate injuries, officials said. Zazueta has been arrested on suspicion of DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family members of Lily Harrison for their tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the two other injured victims. We wish them the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
DUI Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, it appears that the teen driver may have been under the influence when he lost control of his vehicle and caused a head-on collision. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a), it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. It is also illegal for individuals under 21 to consume alcoholic beverages and to drive with any amount of alcohol in their systems. For drivers 21 and older, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08 percent.
When drivers operate under the influence of alcohol and cause accidents, they can be held both criminally and civilly liable. This means in addition to facing criminal charges, these drivers could also be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses they cause. Victims and families of deceased DUI crash victims would be well advised to contact an experienced Riverside DUI victims’ lawyer who will remain on their side, fight for their rights and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.