Passenger dies in suspected drunk driving crash in California

A woman in Corona was killed in a fiery crash involving a suspected drunk driver on Jan. 18. The fatal two-car accident happened near Green River Road on the 91 Freeway at around 4 a.m. Before the fatal collision, the victim had been a passenger in a Honda that was disabled due to a separate accident that had taken place earlier. It is unclear what led to the first of the two car accidents.

The fatal crash happened when a 30-year-old man who was traveling eastbound on the freeway struck the disabled Honda from behind. When the Honda caught fire, its driver was able to escape from the burning car, but the passenger was not able to escape in time. The Honda driver was treated at UC Irvine Medical Center for serious injuries, and the Riverside County coroner pronounced the passenger dead at the scene.

The 30-year-old driver was taken into police custody for a charge of driving under the influence. He reportedly suffered from minor injuries in the accident. When the fatal crash was reported, the California Highway Patrol had not yet concluded its investigation into the factors that led to the accident.

Family members of someone killed in this kind of accident may have a case for filing a civil wrongful death claim against the driver at fault. If criminal charges have been issued against the driver, this fact in some cases can be used to strengthen the family's civil claim. Evidence collected by police during the criminal investigation may be able to be used in a family's wrongful death claim in order to prove the liability of the driver.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Driver arrested on suspicion of DUI after fiery crash leaves 1 dead", Emily Alpert Reyes, Jan. 18, 2015

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