Distracted driving and drunk driving are not the only causes of fatal accidents in California. However, as any San Francisco personal injury attorney knows, cellphone use or alcohol can increase the risk of traffic accidents greatly. Last week this blog reported a story about a motorcycle accident that may have involved alcohol and cellphone use, according to court records.
A Newport Beach woman recently appeared in court to face similar allegations. The 22-year-old woman is accused of causing a fatal bicycle accident while she was using her cellphone and driving drunk. Police say that she had been drinking at the place of her employment before getting behind the wheel. The allegations against the woman reportedly include evidence that she texting when she struck a 44-year-old, man who was riding his bicycle in the bike lane on Feb. 21.
Law enforcement says their investigation reveals the woman showed signs of intoxication at the bicycle accident scene. Nearly two hours after the fatal crash, police say the woman had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10 percent, which is above the legal limit in California.
A Newport Beach businessman and triathlete was riding his bicycle on San Joaquin Road when the woman is believed to have driven her 20008 Volkswagen Jetta into the bike lane. The car struck the bicyclist from behind. Paramedics were unable to save the bicyclist and he reportedly died at the scene of the accident.
Court records indicate that the woman had received several traffic tickets over the past five years, including one for driving while using a phone.
The woman appeared in a criminal case recently, which was rescheduled for December. She is free after posting $100,000 bond.
It is important to note that criminal charges are matters brought by the state. Civil cases involving personal injury and wrongful death are separate issues brought by victims of accidents, or their families.
Individuals injured in a California bike accident, or the families of individuals killed in a crash, may speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn what legal options may be available in civil court in California.
Source: Newport Beach Patch, “Update: Preliminary Hearing Delayed in Cyclist Fatality,” Nisha Gutierrez-Jaime,” Oct 13, 2011