A woman was killed and three other people were injured in a one-vehicle accident in Shasta County on July 25. Police suspect that alcohol played a role in the nighttime accident and detained the driver on suspicion of felony DUI. They also planned to seek second-degree murder charges.
According to reports, the fatal accident took place near Millville around 9:30 p.m. on Highway 44 near Butler Road. A westbound Toyota sedan drifted over the centerline and onto the left shoulder, crashed through a fence and then flipped over several times. The car caught fire, but people nearby helped to rescue the four people inside the Toyota before the vehicle became completely engulfed.
One of the passengers, a 20-year-old Weaverville woman who was four months pregnant, was transported to Mercy Medical Center for treatment of severe blunt-force injuries. However, she and her unborn child died at the hospital. The 36-year-old driver, a Burnt Ranch man, also suffered major injuries in the crash, as did the two other passengers, a 32-year-old Bella Vista man and a 32-year-old Lewiston woman. The driver, who was suspected of driving while impaired, was on probation for DUI at the time of the accident. His arrest and the charges that he might face could be used in a wrongful death claim.
In cases like this, the family of a deceased victim might file a claim against the driver whom they believe is responsible for the accident. For this type of claim to be successful, the driver must be found liable and negligent by the court. The information from the criminal proceedings, such as the police report, blood test results and the charges against the driver, might be used to establish this. If the claim is successful, the family might receive compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.
Source: Record Searchlight, "UPDATE: CHP: DUI crash kills woman, unborn child," July 29, 2014
Source: Press Democrat, "Northern California: Pregnant woman killed in DUI crash", July 26, 2014