The Napa County Sheriff's Department has reported that a 59-year-old Napa man died following a roadway accident on Dec. 13. According to sources, the two-car accident occurred on state Highway 29. Reports indicate that a 23-year-old Napa resident was driving a Ford F-150 south on the highway at around 5:20 a.m. when he apparently lost control of his vehicle and collided with a northbound 1998 Chevrolet Prizm driven by a 46-year-old Fairfield man. The Ford's driver allegedly hit the concrete divide in the roadway, crossing into the northbound lanes of traffic before striking a guardrail. The impact caused the truck's rear end to rise into the air, smashing down on the Prizm's passenger side.
The Prizm's passenger was pronounced dead at the accident scene, and both drivers were transported via ambulance for treatment of minor injuries. The Ford's driver was taken into custody and booked at the Napa County Jail on charges of DUI and vehicular manslaughter. Highway 29 was closed for three hours following the accident.
Car accidents caused by drunk driving claim the lives of many innocent people every year. Despite the known risks, some people continue to drive while impaired. When they do drive and cause a fatal wreck, the family of the deceased is often left to deal with their loved one's unexpected passing and the financial impact of the accident.
Although drunk drivers often face criminal charges for their actions, families may need to file separate wrongful death lawsuits in order to recoup damages associated with the accident. Civil lawsuits proceed separately from criminal trials, and the burden of proof is different. A wrongful death attorney may be able to assist grieving families with litigation following a fatal crash.
Source: Suisun City Patch, "Napa Victim In Horrific, Suspected DUI-Related Crash Identified", Susan C. Schena, December 15, 2014