Merced County Man Arrested in Fatal DUI Accident

Merced County Man Arrested in Fatal DUI Accident

Merced County Man Arrested in Fatal DUI Accident

I’m Ed Smith, a Merced personal injury and car accident lawyer. A drunk driving accident allegedly caused by a Merced County man claimed the life of a Groveland woman on April 26, 2018. A 22-year-old Winton man was driving his car westbound along Highway 108 in Sonora while following another vehicle. The Winton man reportedly veered his vehicle across the double solid yellow lines of the highway to overtake the car ahead of him. While doing so, the Winton man drove into the direct path of an oncoming pickup truck driven by a Groveland woman, which resulted in a severe head-on collision. The Winton man was transported to the Doctors Medical Center in Modesto with major injuries while the Groveland woman was taken to the Adventist Health in Sonora. Unfortunately, the Groveland woman succumbed to her injuries during hospitalization. The woman has been identified by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) as Ella Hampton-Rauch.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of Ms. Hampton-Rauch during this heart-wrenching time.

What Caused the Accident?

CHP investigators reported that the Winton man was intoxicated at the time of the collision. He was booked into the Tuolumne County Jail after being discharged from hospitalization. He is facing felony charges of driving under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

Effects of Alcohol Use on Driving

Below is a list of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels and the effects of each level on driving:

  • 0.02%: An individual can experience declines in judgment, visual functions and ability to multi-task;
  • 0.05%: A motorist may undergo difficulties with coordination, steering, alertness and muscle control;
  • 0.08%: Significant changes in concentration, speed control, perception and memory can occur;
  • 0.10%: Reduced ability to brake appropriately, maintain lane position, reaction time and control may arise;
  • 0.15%: Substantial differences in attention to driving task, vehicle control, necessary auditory and visual information processing can ensue.

Signs of Driver Impairment

Recognizing a drunk driver on the street is vital in protecting yourself and your loved ones from serious injuries. Look out for these signs in an alcohol-impaired motorist:

  • Braking, swerving or stopping erratically
  • Delayed response to traffic conditions and signals
  • Drifting within their own lane
  • Driving unusually slow or close to the middle lane marker or shoulder
  • Near-collisions with fixed objects or other motor vehicles
  • Wide radius turning movements

Avoid traveling late at night, especially right as the bars are closing. Driving less on major holidays is another way to reduce your chances of being involved in an accident with a drunk driver. If you suspect that a nearby motorist is intoxicated, be sure to keep a safe distance from their car. Always keep in mind that reporting a driver to law enforcement can save a life, including your own.

Drunk Driving Accidents

Driving while intoxicated remains an issue in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol-impaired driving accidents were the leading cause of 10,497 fatalities in 2016. This number accounted for 28 percent of all collision deaths in the country with an annual cost of 44 billion dollars in damages, such as wrecked property, lost wages, and medical expenses. If a drunk driver has seriously injured you or a family member in a collision, seeking legal guidance with an experienced personal injury attorney in Merced is crucial in securing your right to fair compensation.

Merced Personal Injury & Car Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Merced personal injury and car accident lawyer. Injuries from a drunk driving accident can significantly change an individual’s life. If you or a loved one has suffered serious harm in a car accident, please call me at (209) 227-1931 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly case advice.

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