Shirley Ann Murphy, 52, was killed in a car accident in Central California involving a suspected drunk driver who was traveling the wrong way on the freeway. According to a news report in The Press Enterprise, the fatal car accident occurred early morning on August 30, 2011 on the Interstate 5, near Kettleman Junction, in Kings County. Murphy was a passenger in a 2002 Ford Explorer SUV, which was being driven by 33-year-old Charles Snyder.
The Ford was northbound on the freeway when it was hit head-on by a Volkswagen Passat travelling south in the northbound lanes. Snyder and two passengers in the Ford SUV – 18-year-old April Murphy and 32-year-old Donell Watts – suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of the Passat, 49-year-old Wayne Boatright, also suffered injuries, but he faces DUI and vehicular manslaughter charges.
I offer my deepest condolences to everyone who knew and loved Shirley Ann Murphy for their devastating loss. My heart also goes out to the injured victims of this crash. I wish them the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
According to California Highway Patrol's 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were seven fatalities and 67 injuries involving DUI collisions in Kings County. Also, countywide, car accidents claimed 26 lives and caused 487 injuries, during the same year.
California Drunk Driving Laws
Based on this news report, witnesses saw Boatright driving the wrong way on the freeway. Officials say he was under the influence at the time. Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is illegal under California law. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a): "It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle." A driver whose act of driving under the influence results in the death of another will likely face vehicular manslaughter charges under California Penal Code Section 191.5 (a).
Claim for Compensation
In such cases, where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, injured victims and families of deceased victims would be well-advised to contact an experienced California personal injury lawyer who has a successful track record of financially pursuing drunk drivers. Car accident victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, and pain and suffering. For more information about the dangers of driving under the influence, please visit the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) web site at www.madd.org.