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Drunk Driver Pleads No Contest in Fatal Bay Area Crash

Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook

The loss of a loved one can be devastating for surviving family members. It can be made more difficult when such a loss is caused by a drunk driver. Although no amount of money can replace the surviving family member's loss, a wrongful death claim may be brought against the responsible party in addition to criminal charges.

A drunk driver who went the wrong way down a California interstate was recently sentenced to prison for causing a fatal car crash. The San Francisco man killed a woman and injured her daughter in the accident. He was sentenced to seven years and eight months in prison.

The car crash occurred just after midnight in the summer of 2011. The driver was on the interstate and inexplicably made a U-turn, causing his vehicle to drive down the wrong side of the roadway. Several cars swerved out of his way, but he eventually hit the victims' SUV. Sadly, the family was driving their daughter to enroll in a college in the San Francisco area at the time of the accident.

The driver's blood-alcohol level was taken at the hospital and registered at 0.17. This is more than twice the legal limit in California. He was injured in the accident, but has since recovered. He pleaded no contest to gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence of alcohol. The driver also pleaded no contest to driving with a blood-alcohol level higher than .08, and causing accident with injury. He is required to serve at least 80 percent of his prison sentence before he will be eligible for parole.

It is not known whether the victims of this accident plan to file a claim for the loss of their loved one and other injuries sustained in the car crash. However, surviving family members and victims of accidents such as this one should know that they may be entitled to file a claim and recover damages for their loss.

Source: The Fresno Bee, "Drunken driver gets 7 years for wrong-way fatal crash," Lewis Griswold, Nov. 10, 2012