All drivers know that drunk driving is a serious crime, and many are aware of the heavy penalties that come with it â license suspension, heavy fines and possible jail time, to name a few. When a person drives drunk and then causes a serious or fatal accident, they often try to cover up the fact that they had been intoxicated.
That may have been what happened following a recent accident near Los Angeles. Authorities say the accident occurred when a man driving a Ford Taurus struck a 64-year-old woman in a Saturn. The impact was apparently extremely violent, causing a chain-reaction that involved a total of seven vehicles. The 64-year-old woman did not survive.
Authorities say speed was a contributing factor, though suspicion also lies on alcohol. Witnesses of the crash say the driver of the Taurus appeared to have difficulties with his balance. After the accident, the man entered a nearby mini mart and asked for beer. An employee at the mini mart said that the man picked up a six-pack, threw the money on the counter and left. When police found him, one of the beers was open.
Authorities question whether the man had been attempting to taint the evidence by drinking more alcohol after the accident, thereby contaminating any blood-alcohol screenings that could be taken. Police say they are administering tests to attempt to determine the man's blood-alcohol level before the crash.
The man's physical state could have enormous significance in any subsequent trials that may occur. In particular, blood-alcohol tests are key in proving whether a driver was drunk at the time of the accident, a factor that could prove negligence.
In car accidents such as this one, the families of the victim often sue for wrongful death, a civil action that can reimburse family members for the physical and emotional losses they have suffered. These cases are greatly simplified by the presence of strong evidence of negligence, such as a positive blood-alcohol test in the aftermath of a fatal car accident.
Source: KABC-TV, "Tarzana fatal crash suspect drank beer immediately after wreck" Coleen Sullivan, Dec. 17, 2013