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Alleged DUI Crash Kills 3 in Vermont Knolls, Los Angeles

emergency vehiclesAn infant, a child, and an adult all lost their lives in a fiery car crash on Saturday, April 28. Thirty-year-old Jose Manuel Garcia, the driver accused of causing the accident, was arrested on charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and three felony counts of murder. The crash occurred in south Los Angeles in Vermont Knolls.

Horrific accident tears apart family of 5

A family was traveling in their blue Dodge Caravan that Saturday. They were passing through the intersection at South Hoover and West 76th Streets when Garcia’s black Nissan Xterra SUV ran the red light and broadsided the van. An eyewitness told reporters that the van was dragged about 25 feet down the street. It burst into flames upon striking a curb.

Within moments of the crash, bystanders were running toward the wreckage trying to help the survivors. “It was terrible. I had to see these two little boys,” said eyewitness Bobby Arredondo.

Three of the family members could not be saved. The accident claimed the lives of the father, Juan Reynoso, age 34, his six-year-old daughter, Emma Reynoso, and his five-month-old son, Sebastian Reynoso. The unidentified mother and another sibling, nine-year-old Julian Reynoso, both sustained critical injuries.

Early reports after the crash suggested that Jose Garcia also sustained serious injuries.

DUI suspect to appear in court

On Wednesday, May 2, suspected drunk driver Jose Garcia is expected to appear in court. Prosecutors have recommended that bail be set at no less than $6 million. Along with the charges of manslaughter and murder, Garcia faces a charge of driving with a 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC) causing injury within 10 years of another DUI, and a second charge of driving under the influence of alcohol within 10 years of another DUI offense. Both are felony offenses.

If convicted of all charges, Garcia would face a possible sentence of 82 years to life in prison.

It’s not known if Garcia will face any other potential legal consequences for another accident he’s alleged to have caused. It took place shortly before the deadly crash at the intersection. A witness who lives just down the street has claimed that Garcia struck her neighbor’s vehicle. “We screamed at him, ‘Hey!’ and he just took off,” said Alma Munoz.

Liability issues in DUI cases

DUI charges are a criminal matter, but suspected drunk drivers may also face civil penalties for their reckless actions. In any DUI case, a victim may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver in order to hold him or her liable for the medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It’s not necessary for an alleged drunk driver to be convicted in order for the victim to achieve a favorable resolution for the lawsuit. Civil lawsuits have a less strict burden of proof compared to criminal trials.

Car accident lawyers can review your case in Los Angeles, CA

Nothing can truly compensate a family for the loss of a loved one. Here at Ellis Injury Law, our Los Angeles, California car accident attorneys understand how difficult it can be to think clearly in the wake of a tragedy. Unfortunately, time is of the essence when it comes to preserving your family’s legal rights and options. Contact our law firm for a complimentary case consultation. We can help you make an informed decision. Call toll-free at 888-275-3901.

More Resources:

  1. NBC Los Angeles, Driver Suspected of DUI in Crash That Killed Three in South LA, https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Car-Crash-in-South-LA-3-dead-481168431.html
  2. ABC 7, Man suspected of driving drunk charged with murder in fiery Vermont Knolls crash, http://abc7.com/man-30-charged-with-murder-in-fiery-vermont-knolls-crash/3416325/