Union Tribune reporter Pauline Repard reported that in San Diego County and statewide, fatalities and drivers arrested for drunk driving during the New Year’s weekend were significantly less than a year ago, most likely because it lasted only three days this year as compared to four a year ago. According to CHP officer, Jesse Udovich, there were 60 arrests and one fatality in San Diego over the holiday weekend compared to last year when there were 101 DUI arrests and three fatalities. Statewide there were 961 drunk driving arrests and 25 DUI related deaths compared to 1388 arrests and 36 deaths a year ago.
Kelly McPherson, 53, of Mission Valley was fatally injured when he tried to walk across Murray Drive in La Mesa at around 1:30 a.m. on January 1, 2011. The driver of the vehicle that hit him, 48-year-old Dana Lohner was later arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.
Applicable California Law
Lohner will face felony criminal charges for driving under the influence and causing death or injury (see my prior Blog post for California DUI Law). In addition, McPherson’s heirs will have wrongful death claims against Lohner (see my prior Blog post on California Wrongful Death Law). Furthermore, Lohner could face additional claims for punitive damages for her reckless conduct of driving while intoxicated (see my prior Blog post on California Punitive Damage Law).
Although seemingly the new year started out on a positive trend, it was still fraught with tragedy. Wrongful death or serious injuries resulting from auto accidents or truck accidents involving pedestrians are catastrophic. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney is critical to obtaining justice.