A box truck driver is facing seven felony counts in connection with an accident that claimed the life of a California Department of Transportation worker. The 32-year-old Foster City resident has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and six counts of felony drunk driving by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. A 46-year-old toll booth worker was killed when the box truck caused a chain reaction crash on the Interstate 80 approach to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge during the early morning hours of Dec. 2.
Responding California Highway Patrol officers say that they detected the odors of marijuana and alcohol both in the box truck and emanating from the man following the accident. The man is also said to have admitted to the paramedics treating him that he had smoked marijuana and consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel. Police claim that surveillance footage shows the box truck being driven recklessly prior to crashing.
The man was ejected from his vehicle and suffered serious injuries in the accident. Police placed him under arrest on suspicion of drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter before he was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital. The accident, which occurred at approximately 5:10 a.m., caused sections of Interstate 80 to be shut down for up to 15 hours and created traffic backups that stretched for miles.
Prosecutors in California may file felony drunk driving charges when accidents caused by impaired drivers have caused serious injury or death, but they must be able to prove that the defendant acted negligently or violated the California Motor Vehicle Code before crashing if records checks do not reveal a history of intoxicated driving. When their clients face felony DUI charges, experienced criminal defense attorneys may study accident reports and video footage carefully to ascertain whether all of the elements of the crime can be established beyond a reasonable doubt.
Source: The East Bay Times, District Attorney charges driver in fatal Bay Bridge toll plaza crash, George Kelly, Dec. 11, 2017