A 22-year-old California man was sentenced to 13 years and 8 months in prison for a fatal wrong-way DUI crash. The man's sentence was handed down on June 6 in San Diego. In April, he had pleaded guilty to DUI causing great bodily injury and intoxication resulting in gross vehicular manslaughter.
The accident happened on May 2, 2015, on Interstate 15. The man was driving the wrong way in a northbound express lane around 3 a.m. He collided head-on with a Honda that was traveling north in the lane, killing a 55-year-old man and an 84-year-old woman. Three family members of the pair who were killed were severely injured.
The family was driving to Tijuana to an airport to attend a wedding in Mexico at the time of the accident. The 22-year-old reportedly told officers with the California Highway Patrol that he had drank in excess of three beers and two shots of vodka while attending a party earlier in the night. His blood alcohol concentration measured at 0.14, which is well above the legal limit.
The families of people who are killed by drunk drivers may file civil lawsuits while the criminal cases against the drivers are still pending. Even if a driver is successful in his or her drunk driving criminal case, it is possible for families to prevail in the separate civil suits. Civil lawsuits require that plaintiffs prove their cases by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a less difficult standard than the standard required in criminal matters. Through a civil lawsuit, family members may seek monetary damages to compensate them for their economic and noneconomic losses that they have suffered.
Source: 760 KFMB, "Wrong way driver sentenced for deadly DUI crash", Steve Price, June 6, 2016