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Drunk driver sentenced to 18 years for killing three friends

On July 10, a California man was sentenced to 18 years in prison for a deadly drunk driving crash early last year. The 26-year-old was convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI in June.

According to authorities, the defendant's blood alcohol content was between .10 and .18 percent when he lost control of his SUV on a northbound Interstate 805 transition ramp at around 11:15 p.m. on Jan. 10, 2014. The SUV flipped at least five times, and four of his five male passengers were thrown from the vehicle. Three of his passengers, ages 23, 29 and 35, died at the scene of the crash. A survivor of the accident testified that all five passengers asked the defendant to slow down immediately before the accident.

The defendant and his friends spent the hours before the crash drinking at one of their homes and at two bars. A bartender testified that all of the men were "visibly wasted." The defendant's attorney argued that all the men shared responsibility for the accident because everyone had been consuming alcohol. However, the judge ruled that the defendant became responsible for everyone's life the moment he put the SUV in motion. In addition to a prison sentence, the defendant was ordered to pay $6,200 in restitution to the families of two victims. Restitution for the other families will be determined at a later date.

Any California resident who has been injured by a drunk driver may wish to speak with an attorney. In some cases, it may be possible to file a civil lawsuit against the negligent driver seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.

Source: FOX 5 San Diego, "Drunk driver who killed 3 passengers sentenced to 18 years," Jason Sloss, July 11, 2015

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