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La Serna High Student Killed in Rollover Accident

auto accident - drunk driverFourteen year-old Ivette Macias, a student at La Serna High School, died after she was ejected from a SUV that crashed near the Whittier campus on Villaverde Drive last Tuesday. Described by classmates and friends as ‘very social’ and a ‘leader,’ Macias was just shy of turning 15 when she lost her life.  According to Whittier police, the sports utility vehicle was traveling at high speeds, with six people in tow, when it crashed on the 8400 block of Villaverde Drive. Authorities report that the vehicle was speeding when it swerved onto a sidewalk, then struck a brick mailbox before rolling over.

The driver of the SUV has since been arrested in the single vehicle rollover accident that killed one and sent five others to the hospital.

Vehicle rollover kills 14-year old girl

ABC news confirmed that six people were in the SUV at the time of the incident, including an adult driver and five students who all went to La Serna High School. Macias suffered fatal injuries in the accident and was pronounced dead at the scene. The five students, who ranged in age from 14-19, were transported to area hospitals for emergency medical treatment. Two of the female passengers were airlifted by helicopter. Authorities have yet to comment on the condition of all survivors, but two of the victims are currently in critical condition.

Whittier police have since arrested the driver in the accident, who has been identified as 19-year-old Daniel Vasquez. After he was released from the hospital, Vasquez was booked and faces charges of vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI.

SUV driver may have been drunk

Local authorities are still investigating the circumstances of the car accident, but eyewitnesses say they saw some beer cans surrounding the crash site. Vasquez, a Whittier resident, is being detained in the Whittier jail where his bail has been set at $100,000. The courts have yet to announce his arraignment date.

In the wake of the tragedy, La Serna High School has made grief counselors available to both students and staff. “Given the gravity of the situation, students have been allowed to respond to texts/calls from parents to confirm that they are safe. The district will work with LSHS to ensure counselors are available to all students and staff through the week,” Loring Davies, asst. superintendent of educational services for the Whittier Union High School District told reporters.

DUI accidents & liability

Similar to many states, California has strict drunk driving laws for individuals younger than 21, who cannot drive with a blood alcohol concentration level of .01 or higher. Drivers over the age of 21 may not operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content level of .08 or higher.

If convicted for felony DUI, Vasquez may face both criminal and civil sanctions. Victims of DUI crashes may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit that demands compensation for pain and emotional suffering, medical costs, and other damages, and the families of those who are killed may pursue a wrongful death claim.

As a leading personal injury law firm in Los Angeles, Ellis Law is deeply committed to advocating for DUI victims and anyone who has suffered injuries from the negligent actions of another.  Our car accident attorneys look at all potential liable parties, including establishments where the driver may have consumed alcohol prior to the accident.

To arrange a free initial consultation, call our offices toll free at 1-800-INJURED.