Drunk driver gets 18 years in prison

A 26-year-old California man was sentenced to 18 years in prison on July 10 for his role in a 2014 drunk driving accident that claimed the lives of three people. The man was convicted of charges including vehicular manslaughter and DUI in June, but he was acquitted of murder in the second degree. The accident took place in northern San Diego at approximately 11:15 p.m. on Jan. 10, 2014.

According to a police report, the man had a blood alcohol level of between .10 percent and .18 percent when he lost control of his SUV on the transition ramp between the northbound lanes of Interstate 805 and the westbound lanes of State Route 52. Police estimate that the SUV was traveling at between 87 mph and 97 mph immediately before the auto accident.

Police say that the SUV flipped over several times before coming to a rest, and four of its five passengers were ejected from the vehicle. A 23-year-old man, a 29-year-old man and a 35-year-old man were pronounced dead at the scene by emergency response personnel. A bartender told the court that the group of six men had all appeared to be intoxicated when they left an area tavern earlier in the evening.

Drunk drivers may face civil sanctions in addition to criminal penalties when their negligent actions cause injury, loss or damage to other road users. When an intoxicated driver is incarcerated or killed, a personal injury attorney may seek compensation for accident victims by filing a lawsuit against their estate or insurance provider. An attorney may also initiate litigation against restaurants or bars in cases where alcohol is served to obviously intoxicated individuals who are later involved in accidents.

Source: Fox 5 San Diego, "Drunk driver who killed 3 passengers sentenced to 18 years", Jason Sloss, July 11, 2015

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