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Man Pleads Guilty After Fatal DUI Hit-and-Run Accident in Del Mar

The McClellan Law Firm

A man charged in the hit-and-run death of a 27-year-old woman has changed his plea from not guilty to guilty on Wednesday.

The tragic accident occurred at about 10:15pm on March 28th as the victim and a friend were crossing the street at a crosswalk at the intersection of Camino Del Mar and Coast Boulevard. The defendant was accused of running a stop sign and striking the victim at a high rate of speed, narrowly missing her friend. Someone at the scene attempted to perform CPR on the victim, but she did not survive. The defendant was accused of leaving the scene without stopping, though law enforcement were able to track him down using part of a license plate and Audi sign that were left at the scene. He was arrested at his La Jolla home about 12 miles from the scene of the accident.

According to the Deputy District Attorney prosecuting the case, the defendant admitted to drinking with friends earlier in the night and had said he "might have" struck a person while driving home. The defendant's blood was drawn and tested for alcohol at 3:21am, just over 5 hours after the accident. Using the results of the test, the prosecution determined that his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) would have been about .24%, 3 times the legal limit, at the time of the accident.

The defendant originally faced gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury and hit-and-run charges, and up to 15 years in prison.

Drunk Driving and Hit-and-Run Accidents

Drunk driving is a criminal offense in itself and is widely recognized as one of the greatest hazards on our roadways. About one-third of traffic fatalities occur in collisions involving a driver with a BAC of .08% or greater, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Alcohol can impair judgment, vision, reaction time and motor skills, affecting a person's ability to drive safely. In the case above, a young woman who was studying to be a marine biologist paid the ultimate price for another's wrongdoing.

A hit-and-run occurs when a driver leaves the scene of an auto accident. Per California law, drivers are required to remain at the scene of car accidents that cause injury or property damage. Fleeing the scene is a criminal offense. The fact that the defendant in the above case was accused not only of DUI and hit-and-run but of causing the death of another person in the commission of these offenses was the reason behind the severity of his potential 15-year prison sentence.

Victims of hit-and-run accidents and drunk drivers can also take legal action in civil court. Of course there is no way to bring back a loved one or to possibly compensate a victim for serious injuries sustained in a car accident, but seeking justice in both civil and criminal court can bring peace of mind. A civil lawsuit can also help a victim or his or her family recover financial compensation to pay for medical bills, lost earnings, emotional trauma, pain, suffering and more.

If you would like to learn more about personal injury and wrongful death actions related to car accidents in the San Diego area, please do not hesitate to call The McClellan Law Firm. We represent the injured and wronged, fighting to hold negligent parties accountable for their conduct. We strongly believe that drunk drivers and drivers who flee the scenes of accidents should be held responsible for what they have done. We hope to increase awareness of these tragic accidents while helping victims recover compensation that helps them rebuild their lives. Contact a San Diego personal injury attorney today.