Articles Posted in DUI Manslaughter

One of the most tragic types of fatal automobile accidents occurs when no ill will is involved, no road rage, no deliberate drinking and driving, and no reckless speeding. One example of this type of tragedy is when one drives while unaware of the potentially dangerous side effects of a prescription drug. The side effect can be from either taking the drug or from failing to take the drug as directed. Specifically, some drugs can cause drowsiness, audio-visual distortions, or even seizures. The same is true for failure to consistently take a medication that is intended to protect against drowsiness, audio-visual distortions, or seizures.  

When one of these side effects occurs while a driver is on the road, terrible tragedies can ensue.  The law does not withhold liability if you were unaware of the dangers of driving coupled with the potential side effects of a medication. As such, if you have been involved in a fatal car accident in which you experienced with side effects of a medication or its absence, you may still be convicted in spite of your lack of awareness. Vehicular manslaughter is one criminal charge applicable to the type of tragedy in question. If you have been charged with vehicular manslaughter in the state of California, you need a skilled and experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney. With a conviction bringing serious penalties including fines and jail time, so you need a skilled attorney to fight to protect your legal rights.

Vehicular Manslaughter is Typically a Crime of Negligence

Most DUI charges in the state of California are classified as misdemeanors.  This is the case most of the time even if you have previous misdemeanor DUI convictions on your criminal record. The caveat concerns what are known as “aggravating factors.”  The purpose of this article is to explain the types of aggravating factors capable of justifying a felony DUI charge. If you have been charged with felony DUI in California, you need to contact an experienced California DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. The penalties for a felony DUI conviction are severe. With your future, finances, freedom, and reputation at stake, you need a skilled attorney.

Aggravating Factor #1: Causing Injury or Death While Under the Influence

The first aggravating factor serving as grounds for a felony DUI charge in California is causing injuries or fatalities to another person while driving under the influence of alcohol. The number one concern of California’s driving-related laws, including those pertaining to drinking and driving, is the health and safety of the state’s drivers and pedestrians. In the eyes of the state, then, injuries or fatalities that result from a conscious decision to drink and get behind represent the most flagrant violation of California’s driving laws.

Lindsey Taylor Osborne, 27, was arrested for having a blood alcohol level more than four times the legal limit while driving – 0.33. Not only was she driving under the influence, she caused an accident with a couple in a sedan and fled the scene. It hasn’t been stated if she has an attorney or not, but she needs one! The couple in the sedan chased down Osborne, going to the extent of honking their horn, flashing their bright lights and following them for several miles. When that strategy didn’t work, they wrote down Osborne’s license plate number and handed it over to the police. Police found Osborne at her house just a half of an hour later.

Sources:
“Woman Arrested On DUI Following Couple’s Chase” – UT San Diego

The CHP reported a deadly crash occurred around 3:30am this morning in Chula Vista. The crash involved a motorcycle, with the driver cited as the one at fault on suspicion of DUI. The crash occurred on southbound I-5 at the E-Street offramp and involved no other vehicles. The driver of the motorcycle was attempting to speed around the curve of the offramp and lost control – directly in the path of construction barrels. In an attempt to avoid collision, the motorcycle driver swerved and ended up slamming into a barrel anyway; both riders on the motorcycle flew off from the impact. The female passenger on the motorcycle died at the scene and the male passenger was rushed to a nearby trauma center with major injuries. The driver wasn’t given much time to mourn the loss of his passenger and was arrested at the hospital on suspicion of drunken driving. Not only was his speed irresponsible, the way the accident occurred has given CHP red flags to further investigate the situation.

Sources:
“One Dead In Suspected DUI Motorcycle Crash” – UT San Diego

Labor Day weekend can be one of the most fruitful holiday weekends for cops picking drivers under the influence off of the streets and highways, one by one. Compared to DUI arrests last year over Labor Day weekend, the amount has increased almost exactly 30% – a very significant jump from 57 to 72. Fatalities, however, have decreased! In fact, there were absolutely no deaths associated with Labor Day weekend this year, which is shocking with the large increase in number of DUI arrests. Last year, in 2013, there were two deaths during this time period. The overall number of arrests and deaths in the state of California also decreased, with 1,043 arrests this year, 1,092 last year and 23 deaths, down from 24. The death count statistical breakdown for the state of California, is as follows: 21 individuals in vehicles were killed (12 not wearing seat belts), and 3 motorcyclists were killed (all 3 were wearing their helmets). Holidays in California, and the United States in general, tend to be when major clumps of DUI arrests are made. Remember to drive safely and hand over your keys to a designated driver if you decide to drink! However, if you do get pulled over and are under the influence, remember you are not obligated to answer any questions and to give us a call, first!

Sources:
“72 Arrested for DUIs Over Labor Day Weekend” – CBS 8 San Diego

Authorities will be out in full force this Friday and throughout the Labor Day holiday weekend in search of people driving under the influence after celebrating. City police have been preparing and gearing themselves up to take part in overnight checkpoints over the weekend, which are set to begin at around 6pm this evening. There will also be a second checkpoint but the location hasn’t been revealed to the public, and will start at 6pm on Saturday and end at 2 in the morning on Sunday. Other checkpoints will be set up around the 7900 block of Broadway in Lemon Grove and another will be set up in Imperial Beach, according to the San Diego Sheriff’s Department. There will also be officers patrolling the Del Mar Fairgrounds this weekend. Sheriff Bill Gore recently expressed his zero tolerance for driving under the influence and that he will be enforcing the nationwide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. San Diego police officer Mark McCollough stated that three people were killed and over a thousand were injured in drunken driving related crashes last year and they are aiming to lower the number significantly this year.

Sources:
“Labor Day DUI Enforcement Out In Full Force” – San Diego 6, The CW

New developments have occurred regarding a DUI incident covered a few weeks back. The driver at fault is now awaiting a trial date and is in custody with a bond price of $500,000. A cab driver, 42-year-old Antenah Minassie, was driving his cab on Interstate 5 when he was rammed into by a vehicle driving the wrong way. The wrong-way vehicle was being driven by Amy Marie St. John-Smith, who had a blood alcohol level of an astonishing 0.27 percent; over three times the legal limit! In her drunken stupor, she drove the wrong way up the off-ramp on Washington Street, setting off a dangerous chain reaction of accidents. When she hit Minassie’s cab, she did not stop to check on him or phone for help, fleeing the scene; making it a hit-and-run case. Stunned, Minassie got out of his car to recoup and assess the damages, tragically creating the circumstances for his own death. Another vehicle slammed into the back of his cab, the sheer momentum causing his car to fly toward him, killing him instantly. Minassie was a full-time engineer and only drove the cab for a second income; he is survived by his wife and three children.

Sources:
“Driver to Face Trial on Murder Charge in Cabbie’s Death” – UT San Diego

This year’s Fourth of July weekend proved to be a weekend of poor decision making after celebrating; 48 DUI arrests were made by local police officers. During the same window of time these arrests were made, from 6 p.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. Saturday, one fatality was reported. The wreck that caused this fatality occurred on Thursday night in San Diego county on I-805, in the southbound lanes; south of El Cajon Blvd. The wreckage was a scene of a three vehicle affair; one of them being a semi-truck. The specific details of the crash are not yet available to report, but the unidentified driver of a sedan from the accident was sent to the hospital with extremely serious injuries – and later was pronounced dead on Friday by the Medical Examiner’s office, thus the lone fatality.

The fatality statistics are calculated county wide, but the DUI count is just based on local police arrests. The number of DUIs has increased slightly from the previous year, where CPH arrested a stunning 46 drunk drivers.

Across the state of California there were 15 fatalities and a monstrous grand total of 747 drunk drivers arrested, a huge leap from last year when 9 people lost their lives and 564 drivers were arrested for DUI. Four of the fatalities were the result of the individuals not using their seat-belt while in the vehicle. In addition to those four, two motorcyclists and a pedestrian were killed, the details of these incidents not yet released. Do not drink and drive! But if you happen to have a DUI charge already, make sure you have an awesome lawyer and check out our firm!

A shocking portrayal of drug using’s true potential occurred in Lakeside earlier this week. Trista Lynn Stier, a native to the area, was operating her vehicle under the influence of marijuana and methamphetamine. When an individual smokes meth, their world is full of hallucinations and perceptions completely unique to themselves; it can be very dangerous. During a stage of the drug using cycle called “tweaking,” which occurs at the end of a drug binge when the drug no longer provides a rush or a high, the user is capable of anything. Tweaking can cause a state of complete psychosis and is the stage of the methamphetamine high that can manifest itself into physical danger. Trista Lynn Stier was most likely in a similar state when she deliberately crashed head-on into a truck, killing herself and the truck driver instantly. 50-year-old Douglas M. Menegos was driving his truck on State Route 67 when Trista Stier sped the wrong way up an off-ramp, resulting in the collision of their two vehicles. Because of the circumstances of the crash, police drug tested the driver at fault and this is when it was determined 29-year-old Trista Stier tested positive for methamphetamine and marijuana. Even though Stier’s actions were likely solely the result of the effects of the drugs, authorities cited her death as suicide; her deliberate head-on crash is all they have to speak as to how she felt and why it happened.

Sources:
“Deadly Crash on SR-67 Caused by Suicidal Driver” – CBS 8

A devastating, fatal collision occurred yesterday afternoon involving a 55-year-old man from Oceanside. He was riding on his Triumph motorcycle, bobbing and weaving through vehicles as he passed them near State Route 76 in front of the Oak Knoll Campground. Witnesses told officers arriving on the scene that the crash happened around midnight, with one of these witnesses evening saying he experienced the motorcyclists reckless driving on the highway.

“He passed me,” the witness stated, “and even did it over the double-yellow line.”

it appears as if this behavior continued, leading to his untimely death. The motorcyclist tried to pass a Toyota Corolla, not seeing that the car ahead of him, the Corolla, was attempting to turn left, thus creating a recipe for a disaster collision. The motorcycle driven by the 55-year-old man impaled into the side of the 4-door, but the momentum of the cycle itself was left high enough to continue to slide underneath the car and out the other side.