A suspected DUI driver crashed a car into an after-church gathering in Hacienda Heights the afternoon of Sept. 9 leaving three victims injured and transported to local hospitals. According to an NBC Los Angeles news report, the traffic collision occurred in the 14900 block of Clark Avenue. Witnesses said the church services had concluded at about 3 p.m. and worshipers were walking over and gathering at the designated area when the vehicle crashed into the building.
One man pushed children and women out of the way of the charging vehicle and took the force of the collision, a witness said. That man, a female pastor and a second woman who was inside the building by the doorway, were also hit and transported to the hospital for treatment. The California Highway Patrol said the driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI and was also transported to an area hospital for injuries. The nature and extent of the victims’ injuries is not known at this time. The investigation is ongoing.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured victims of this horrific crash. We wish them the very best for a quick and full recovery.
DUI Accidents and Laws
There were 203 fatalities and 4,469 injuries involving DUI-related traffic accidents in Los Angeles County in 2014, according to CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System. Countywide, 606 people died and 51,988 were injured due to drunk driving incidents during the same year.
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver was under the influence when he or she crashed into the church building and struck the victims. California law prohibits motorists from operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a): “It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.” It is also against the law to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher.
Justice for Victims
In such cases, in addition to facing criminal charges, DUI 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, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. An experienced Los Angeles DUI victims’ lawyer will be able to help protect the rights of injured victims and help them financially pursue the at-fault parties.