One person is dead and another is in custody following a single-car crash that claimed the life of a 52-year-old man. The California Highway Patrol confirmed they have arrested the driver involved in the motor vehicle accident, under suspicion of drunk driving. She was medically cleared and booked into a county jail ahead of a court date, which has not yet been announced.
According to the report, the 52-year-old passenger was celebrating his birthday with the driver, a 36-year-old woman. Apparently, they left a restaurant around midnight on July 4 and the driver was operating her vehicle on Mount Hamilton Road when the accident occurred. She allowed her vehicle to drift off the road, crashing some 150 feet down a steep slope. CHP responded around 12:15 a.m. and were able to see the SUV's taillights, allowing them to access the crash site.
The driver was helped up the incline by first responders, but the passenger was unable to be revived. He was pronounced dead of his injuries at the scene. Officers reportedly suspected alcohol as a possible factor and administered several tests on the driver. She was subsequently arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, as well as felony DUI.
A motor vehicle accident caused by a driver's intoxication is unspeakably tragic, particularly when it results in a fatality. The woman will likely face prison time if she is found guilty of driving under the influence under these circumstances. Separately, her passenger's family are entitled under state law to sue her for wrongful death in a California civil court.