Friends + Joy Ride + Alcohol = Fatal Car Accident

Four friends out having a good time on a Friday night. Cruising in a Honda Civic, laughing, goofing off, whipping the car around doing donuts, and passing a bottle of brandy around. What could possibly go wrong? Plenty. After a dreadful and tragic fatal car accident last week, several lives have been irrevocably changed forever.

The driver was an18-year-old male from the Portola neighborhood who has been charged with several felonies. Apparently, he was spinning the car in circles when the car flipped onto its side. The 19-year-old male passenger in the front seat was partially ejected from the vehicle. The two additional male passengers in the back of the car, along with other witnesses, were able to flip the Civic back onto its wheels and pull the victim to safety. It was unknown if the victim was wearing a seatbelt.

The victim died at the scene in the arms of one of the backseat passengers; his 21-year-old brother.

The driver left the scene of the crime, but returned later with his father. Police say they found an empty bottle of brandy tossed over the fence near the scene of the accident and believe it may have contributed to the evening's events. The driver was being held with a $900,000 bond and was scheduled to be arraigned on several charges including: vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident, driving under the influence of alcohol, driving with a blood alcohol content higher than the legal .08 limit, and reckless driving.

While all four boys were friends, one of the boys paid the highest price for making some bad decisions. Since the driver was only 18, the court may be lenient on him and his sentence. But what about the boy who will never get a second chance? The victim's family may be able to file a wrongful death claim for damages. However, if it was their other son that bought the brandy, he may also be facing charges for providing alcohol to minors.

Source: sfgate.com, "SF man dies in brother's arms after DUI crash," Vivian Ho, July 11, 2012

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