A Garden Grove resident who had a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit during a drunk driving accident that killed a motorcyclist was convicted today.
In 2007, Hugo Israel Lopez was driving his Cadillac Escalade, when two vehicles tried to get out of the errant driver’s way. One of those vehicles struck a motorcycle driven by Yorba Linda resident Graham Green. He died the following day. Last Wednesday, a jury found Lopez guilty of felony vehicular manslaughter, and felony hit and run causing death. Lopez is due to be sentenced on the 29th of May, and could face up to 9 years in prison.
At the time of the accident, Lopez’s blood alcohol level was .21, almost three times the legal limit of .08. Lopez has spent his time during the trial out on bail, and asked to remain free until the sentencing. His attorney argued that he has been sober since the crash, and has attended Alcoholic’s Anonymous meetings. However, Lopez was considered a flight risk, and was taken into custody.
Every year, thousands of people are killed in accidents related to alcohol use. According to Alcohol Alert, 41,059 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2007, and of those, approximately 12,998 were deaths related to drunk driving accidents in which the intoxicated motorist had a blood alcohol level greater than .08. Someone somewhere in the US is killed by an intoxicated driver every 40 minutes.
While law enforcement agencies, safety groups, and governments have declared a war on drunk driving, the problem continues to persist. Organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have taken up the cause of preventing people from getting behind the wheel in an intoxicated state, and these efforts have received widespread support. Law enforcement agencies frequently conduct awareness programs targeted at the general motorist population, as well as special groups like teen drivers, who are at an especially high-risk for drunk driving. These education programs include setting up mock drunk driving crash scenes to bring home to teenagers the destructive effect of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The number of drunk drivers peaks during holidays like the Fourth of July or Thanksgiving. These holidays see stringent crackdowns by law enforcement officers who attempt to keep drunk motorists off the streets. In spite of all these efforts, the problem of drunk driving continues to claim lives, and cause injuries every day.
It takes just one intoxicated motorist to ruin a life, and shatter a family. That’s why even one intoxicated motorist on the road is one motorist too many. These drivers are greatly at risk for causing injuries to themselves and to others sharing the road with them.
Persons injured in a drunk driving accident may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the motorist. Damages can include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, as well as the pain and suffering of the victim. In case of death, the family of the deceased may bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver.
The Reeves Law Group is a law firm with offices throughout California dedicated exclusively to the representation of personal injury victims, including victims of drunk driving accidents. Please visit our website at robertreeveslaw.com. If you desire a free consultation on a personal injury matter, please call us at (800) 644-8000 or email us.