Hit-and-run driver in fatal car crash held without bail

The 35-year-old man from San Jose whose 2011 Nissan Frontier pickup rear-ended a Ford Taurus on Highway 101 south of De La Cruz Boulevard has been arrested and jailed. According to the California Highway Patrol, he is being held in the Santa Clara County Jail without bail on suspicion of driving under the influence and manslaughter for the hit-and-run car accident.

A CHP officer said the driver left the accident scene that disabled the Taurus. Unable to move, the Taurus was hit by a second vehicle that could not stop in time. This second collision with a 2008 Ford pickup forced the Taurus across all the lanes and into a wall. Then the car caught on fire. The 37-year-old man inside the Taurus died at the scene. No other major injuries were reported from the crash.

As rescue and cleanup efforts took place, Santa Clara police noticed the Nissan pickup with damage to its front and tires. The hit-and-run driver was near the freeway close to an IHOP restaurant.

A driver who is known to have been intoxicated at the time of a fatal car accident could be subject to a wrongful death claim by a surviving family member. Intoxication could be labeled as negligence or malfeasance, which would then make the driver liable for damages. An attorney could evaluate the evidence and estimate how many damages a surviving family member might have a right to claim. Generally, wrongful death claims ask for compensation to cover funeral bills and income that a household was deprived of because of the death.

Source: San Jose Mercury News, "San Jose: Man arrested on DUI, manslaughter after hit-and-run leads to fiery fatal crash," Robert Salonga, April 7, 2015

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