Alcohol impairs your judgment. Couple that with a young driver operating a small boxy SUV, and you have a deadly combination, reports the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. An allegedly-intoxicated driver and a passenger survived a perilous plunge this week, while two others in the vehicle, despite wearing safety belts, did not.
According to KTLA Los Angeles, Christine Meng, 22, of San Gabriel reportedly tried to take the eastbound 10 to northbound 710 freeway ramp too quickly in her Toyota Rav4. The petite SUV went over a three foot wall and crashed 100 feet below onto the westbound transition to the southbound 710.
Police say that the cause of the accident, besides the driver's apparent intoxication, was the high rate of speed at which she tried to conquer the curve in the freeway interchange. While the RAV4 is an excellent vehicle in most regards, SUVs aren't made for taking turns at high speed.
Meng apparently showed signs of intoxication at the scene, and though results of her blood alcohol tests have not yet been released, she has been charged with felony DUI charges, reports the Tribune.
It's quite possible that she could be facing manslaughter charges as well. California's DUI manslaughter statute allows the additional charge to be brought when the prosecutor can demonstrate negligence on top of the actual drunk driving. Meng's alleged high rate of speed could suffice.
The severity of the charge will hinge on whether the prosecutor can prove gross negligence, which is a heightened standard. Ordinary negligence is mere speeding. Gross negligence is showing an absolute disregard for the well-being and lives of others, such as going 100 m.p.h. in a school zone.
The more severe charge can carry up to ten years in prison, while the lesser charge only carries up to four years.
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