After an accident, the driver is supposed to pull over at the scene and provide their contact and insurance information. Instead, some drivers get nervous and panic, leaving the scene of the accident. However, leaving the scene of an accident can lead to criminal prosecution in California. A woman in southern California was recently accused of hitting a pedestrian and continuing to drive for a mile while the man was still on the car.
Under California Vehicle Code 20002, leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offense. When the accident involves simple property damage, leaving the scene of an accident can be a misdemeanor. However, if the accident involves serious bodily injury or death, leaving the scene of an accident can be a felony. If the hit and run accident involves drinking and driving, the penalties can be even more severe.
Earlier this week, Estayesi Sanchez had reportedly been drinking at a number of bars in Oceanside, California. She continued drinking through the early morning hours until she finally decided to drive home. A homeless man was walking down the sidewalk when Sanchez's Pontiac jumped the curb, accelerating into the man. The speed and impact were so severe that the man's leg went through over the vehicle, landing on the trunk. The rest of the man's body went through the windshield, with his head laying on the passenger seat.
Instead of stopping the car, Sanchez continued driving. She went up over the sidewalk, drove through a yard, and finally stopped in a cul-de-sac, almost a mile later. Sanchez left the scene, walking towards her home. One resident said he didn't want to come out of his house because the scene was so disturbing. “Horrific,” said Lou Torres. “It was so strange that I couldn't imagine any scenario that would cause this.”
Edwin Esparza was changing the oil in his car when he saw the vehicle with a man's body through the windshield. “There's no words to really describe it,” Esparza said. “I mean, just seeing that up close and personal, it's kind of traumatizing in a way.” A resident asked Sanchez what happened, to which she reportedly said that everything was fine, and continued walking towards her home.
Witnesses called police, who found Sanchez walking nearby. The homeless man was pronounced dead at the scene, and has yet to be identified. Sanchez admitted to drinking and driving, and was arrested for a felony DUI, hit and run, and vehicular manslaughter. She is being held on $1.5 million bail.
At Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people facing DUI charges in the East Bay. With more than 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands the law, and will make sure you get the justice you deserve. If you are charged with drunk driving, distracted driving or other criminal charges, contact the local East Bay criminal defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.