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Murder Charges for Driver DUI in Fatal Crash

 drunk driverA woman accused of driving under the influence when she crashed into a car and killed a 37-year-old father of three in North Hills has been charged with murder as well as 12 other felony and misdemeanor counts.  Saidy Samayoa, 20, of Panorama City, was involved in two separate crashes on Sunday morning, April 17, that resulted in the death of the man and 8 serious injuries.

Samayoa reportedly struck the first vehicle at Sepulveda Boulevard and Parthenia Street, failed to stop and, according to police, drove off “at a high rate of speed.” Running a red light, she then hit a white Toyota Sienna minivan on Haskell Avenue.  The van rolled over after it was struck, ejecting several of the passengers and fatally injuring the driver, whose name has not been released. The driver died later in the hospital. The driver’s wife and three children were injured. His 7-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son were rendered comatose, and a four year old daughter also suffered injuries, as did the children’s 12-year-old cousin.

The driver in the first hit-and-run accident was injured, as were Samayoa’s two passengers, a 19- and a 20-year-old man.  Samayoa herself was hospitalized for her injuries. She was allegedly driving a 2000 Toyota 4-Runner during the two crashes. LA Fire Department paramedics responded to the accident and the injured were taken to local hospitals.

Driver faces up to life in prison if convicted

In addition to the murder charge, Samayoa has been charged with multiple felony and misdemeanor counts. Felony charges include gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of a drug causing injury (8 counts), hit-and-run driving resulting in injury to another person, and reckless driving on a highway causing injury. A specific drug has not been identified in the driving under the influence charge. Samayoa has also been charged with driving without a license.

A spokesman for the District Attorney’s office, Ricardo Santiago, said that Samayoa could face up to life in prison if convicted. Samayoa could not appear in court due to her injuries and an arraignment had not yet been set.

Civil charges also possible in DUI accident case

While criminal charges for the case are pending, it is also possible for some of the victims or their families to file personal injury lawsuits against the defendant.  California courts take DUI charges very seriously by themselves even before they result in accidents. If death or serious injuries result under circumstances such as the ones described above, a driver is clearly liable for the damage caused and can be held liable in court.

Regardless of the outcome of a criminal trial, a civil lawsuit can be filed in order to compensate DUI accident victims in a variety of ways, including for medical costs, for long-term rehabilitation costs, and for loss of quality of life.  This is especially true of children who suffer serious injuries from which they may not completely recover. Children in this case have also lost a parent who may have been a significant financial support to them.

If you or a family member have been harmed by a drunk driver, contact Ellis Injury Law to discuss your legal rights.  Call 1-800-INJURED to set up a no-cost/no-obligation meeting with a Los Angeles car accident lawyer from our firm.