Test Drive Turns Fatal for CarMax Salesman in Ontario
A 43-year-old car salesman from Montclair died earlier this week while accompanying a prospective customer on a test drive, according to Ontario police officials. Warren Smale, an employee of CarMax, died when the Corvette driven by 28-year-old Union City resident Alex Mark Demetro spun out of control, striking a tree.
Demetro was arrested on suspicion of felony operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs as well as vehicular manslaughter. It has also emerged that the driver was behind the wheel despite having a suspended license at the time.
Details of deadly crash
The incident occurred on Tuesday afternoon at approximately 12:45 p.m., close to the area of Mercedes Lane and Concours Street. Eyewitness reports indicate that the Corvette lost control and rammed a tree after reaching speeds upwards of 70 miles per hour. Though both Demetro and Smale were wearing seat belts at the time of impact, Smale was transported to San Antonio Regional Hospital and succumbed to his injuries thereafter.
According to police, Demetro was taking at least one prescription medication at the time of the incident, and toxicology test results are still pending. It was not immediately apparent why his licensed had been suspended or when that suspension had taken effect.
Rights of passengers in car accident cases
Most of us are familiar with the concept of pursuing a car accident claim for compensation in the event of a collision resulting in injury or even death. However, it is important to realize that passengers in vehicles driven by a negligent party also have a right to seek financial recovery with the help of a personal injury lawyer for damages suffered in car accidents. Operators of motor vehicles have a duty to exercise care and caution not only in relation to other motorists, but also to their own passengers. When that duty is breached, injured vehicle occupants or their families in cases of fatalities are afforded the ability to seek compensation from the negligent driver.
When a passenger is injured in an accident occurring due to the impairment of the driver, it critical that he or she recognize that criminal sanctions faced by that individual are not necessarily the only form of available recourse. While a great deal of attention is typically paid to the criminal charges often faced by drunk drivers, and restitution payments to victims may sometimes be ordered, the injured should not overlook the possibility of filing a personal injury lawsuit to secure the full amount of financial resources needed to pay for medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages and other categories of losses.
Fighting for injured passengers throughout Los Angeles
There can be no doubt that establishing driver negligence in an auto accident case is often a challenging, fact-intensive process. However, when it emerges that the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a plaintiff’s burden can become a bit more manageable. The attorneys of Ellis Law understand the complexities involved in holding drivers accountable to harm caused to their passengers and stand ready to leave no stoned unturned in our investigation of the facts and in our negotiations with insurance carriers.
If you or a loved one have been seriously harmed due to negligence while riding as another driver’s passenger, you owe it to yourself to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can explain your rights and legal options.
For a no-cost evaluation of your case, contact Ellis Law’s Los Angeles car accident lawyers at 310-641-3335.