Police are still piecing together exactly what happened this week in a deadly crash involving seven vehicles. The crash was caused by a driver of a grey Ford Taurus who witnesses say crashed into the first vehicle at a high rate of speed, causing tremendous damage to both cars. Both speed and drunk driving are suspected to be causes of the crash, which set of a chain reaction and eventually involved a total of seven cars. The woman in the car that sustained the initial impact died at the scene. The other passengers and drivers have indicated that they experienced some pain but were not hospitalized. The driver of the car that caused the car crash was hospitalized for injuries to his arm.
After the accident witnesses say that the driver of the grey car walked to a convenience store nearby and bought beer and began drinking it at the scene of the accident. According to eyewitness reports he did appear drunk immediately after the crash and was unable to stand upright. There is some speculation that he purchased the beer and consumed it in order to taint evidence that he knew police would obtain about his blood alcohol level at the time of the crash.
The facts of this unfolding case are pretty shocking right now, particularly considering that police have not made an arrest yet. Authorities say that it may be weeks or months before they can determine whether any criminal activity took place in causing the crash.
Whether or not charges are filed, the victims and their families have a right to pursue civil damages in a case against the driver. Speeding alone is negligent behavior that makes the driver at-fault for the injuries and the fatality, so victims will have a claim regardless of the outcome of the investigation into possible drunk driving. However, if the driver was found to be drunk at the time of the crash that could increase his liability for reckless behavior.
Source: ABC 7, “Tarzana fatal crash culprit drank beer immediately after wreck,” Coleen Sullivan, Dec. 17, 2013.