At 11:55 p.m. on July 23, police officers responded to a call about a car that had overturned on Highway 101 near the Great American Parkway. Officers discovered a BMW 355i with major damage and two people inside of it. A passenger, a 45-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
Reports indicate that the car slid across northbound lanes on the highway before crashing into a center divide and coming to a stop. Police say that they believe that the car had been going at a high rate of speed when it failed to negotiate a turn and temporarily left the roadway. The driver of the car had to be taken to Stanford Hospital for treatment of serious injuries.
He was later taken into custody and booked in the county jail where he was being held without bail, according to the California Highway Patrol. The man was charged with suspicion of DUI and vehicular manslaughter, but there was no information given about his blood alcohol content at the time. Due to the crash, the northbound lanes of the highway were closed for approximately three hours to clean the wreckage.
The family of a passenger who is killed in a car accident may be able to pursue a wrongful death suit against the driver. If the person who caused the crash was under the influence of alcohol when the accident occurred, that person could be considered negligent. In some instances, the criminal charges the liable motorist may face could be used as evidence to substantiate a lawsuit.
Source: KTVU, "Driver arrested in fatal Santa Clara freeway crash", July 24, 2014