Car accidents happen in the blink of an eye, and if you are a passenger, you really have no control over the situation. An example of this is the recent death of Brenda Arriaga, 19, of Anaheim, who was thrown from an SUV involved in a crash on PCH last week.
She was a passenger in the SUV and died two days later at Mission Hospital. Multiple people suffered injuries and the SUV's driver was initially arrested for driving under the influence.
According to police reports, the 2004 Ford Explorer Arriaga was riding in, driven by Kathia Isabel Rodriguez, a 19-year-old Fullerton local, swerved across a median and overturned in front of oncoming traffic. After the SUV rolled over, the vehicle was struck by a Dodge Caravan driven by a 65-year-old woman from out of town.
It is unclear how many passengers were involved. In addition to Arriaga's death, a 19-year-old male passenger of the Caravan and a 10-year-old female passenger of the SUV were taken to Mission Hospital to receive treatment.
No charges filed
At the time, Rodriguez was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. She was later released after the Orange County District Attorney declined to file formal charges.
She could have also been charged with driving the wrong way on a major highway. The report does not say why she was not charged. Is it reasonable to suspect someone is under the influence when they drive erratically?
Should she have been charged with driving the wrong way? Since the driver was eventually not charged with DUI, do you think not wearing seat belts had more of an impact on the woman's death than alcohol?
Alcohol is very popular in our culture and it clearly has an impact on a person's judgment and motor skills. Why do people think they are not really intoxicated when they have only had a couple drinks? Should the impact on judgment be considered even if they are below the legal blood alcohol limit?
Here are some stats that show the impact of alcohol in California from the state DMV. Even though there has been a lot of effort to combat drunk driving, the stats show that not much changed between 2002 and 2012. Why do you think this is? Are there other alternatives?
- People are considered to be impaired if their blood alcohol content is above .015 percent, according to California law.
- In 2002 there were 177,000 DUI arrests in the state, and 173,000 in 2012.
- There were 136,000 DUI convictions in the state in 2002, and 142,000 in 2012. The highest was in 2008 with 170,000 convictions.
- In 2002 there were 1,416 fatalities in DUI-related crashes, and 1,169 in 2012. 2011 was the lowest in that period at 1,089.
- Alcohol related injuries went down some, as there were 32,013 in 2002 and 23,868 in 2012.
Accidents can happen at any time for any number of reasons. Alcohol related accidents are also common. Even though someone may not be charged, alcohol may still be a factor in an accident. If you have been injured in an accident in Anaheim or Laguna Beach, speaking with a car accident attorney in Orange County could help you substantially.
There are several dates and procedures that you would benefit from knowing if you wish to pursue compensation for medical expenses and or pain and suffering.
Timothy J. Ryan & Associates is a personal injury law firm that has been assisting Orange County accident victims for over 30 years. Call our Newport Beach Rollover Accident Lawyer at (800) 838-6644 to obtain a free consultation from one of their legal professionals.