Police chases are a very dangerous activity. Police chases of drunk drivers are even more dangerous, whether they are under the influence of drugs and God, or simply alcohol.
Police say that Elba Jimenez, 37, was drunk when she fled after police tried to pull her over, reports KTLA. They noticed her weaving and speeding on the northbound 5 Freeway and hit the sirens. She hit the gas pedal. Eventually, she exited at Caesar Chavez Avenue.
That's when tragedy struck. She blew through a red light and hit a dip in the road. Her car became airborne and crashed into a taco truck in the parking lot across the road. Claudia Fernandez, 38, and Marlene Altorre, 19, both died in the collision. Altorre left behind a 1-year-old baby.
According to NBC Los Angeles, Elba Jimez's bail was set at $2.75 million. She is expected to face charges of murder, felony drunk driving, and felony evading an officer charges.
The accident, along with the multiple collisions in the "God DUI," have led many to question the pragmatism of chasing down criminals. High-speed police chases put the officers, criminals, and bystanders in danger.
In 2005, Governor Schwarzenegger signed a bill into law that provided immunity from lawsuit to police officers and related public agencies. Law Enforcement agencies are supposed to implement policies and annual training to educate officers on when to pursue and when to drop the chase and find the perpetrator later. The measure was supposed to reduce the incidents of fatalities in police chases.
According to a study by NBC Los Angeles, other than a drastic dip in 2006, the law didn't help much. Individual chases have actually become more deadly since the law took effect in 2006.
- Find a Los Angeles DUI Attorney (FindLaw)
- Dangerous Pursuits (KristiesLaw.org)
- Hundreds dead, thousands hurt: The cost of police pursuits in California (MSNBC)
- Too Fast, Too Furious: Woman Gets Backwards DUI (FindLaw's Los Angeles DUI Blog)