Olivia Mendoza Fresno County: Olivia Mendoza, 19, Killed In Fresno Semi-Truck Accident By South Clovis Avenue and East Mountain View Avenue
FRESNO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA (September 28, 2019) – A 19-year-old woman identified as Olivia Mendoza was killed in a semi-truck accident with an intoxicated driver by the intersection of South Clovis Avenue and East Mountain View Avenue.
California Highway Patrol are saying that the accident took place around 7:00 p.m. on Friday. A 31-year-old truck driver ran a stop sign at the intersection and broadsided the car driven by Olivia Mendoza.
The semi-truck driver continued after the initial crash and hit another semi-truck head-on. The driver of that semi-truck only sustained minor injuries.
Paramedics and police were called to the scene in order to help Olivia Mendoza. Despite life-saving efforts the victim was later pronounced dead due to her injuries.
Police did a field sobriety test on the 31-year-old truck driver that ran the stop sign. They said he could barely stand up and couldn’t walk in a straight line. Officers suspect that he was high on marijuana.
Fresno County police officers arrested him on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. An investigation into the accident remains ongoing at this time.
Friends of Olivia Mendoza raised around $7,000 for her family in the wake of this tragedy.
The Dangers Of Using Marijuana While Driving
The effects of alcohol use while driving are fairly well known. Drunk drivers are more likely to cause accidents and alcohol use substantially lowers a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. The effects of driving under the influence of marijuana are less well known. According to Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD), “More than a third of teens mistakenly believe they drive better under the influence of marijuana. Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths.”
The key ingredient in marijuana THC impairs a number of driving functions, similar to alcohol. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, “Marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time, and studies have found a direct relationship between blood THC concentration and impaired driving ability.” It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana even for a person that has a lawful prescription. Driver’s that cause accidents while under the influence of alcohol are likely to face criminal as well as civil liability.
Liability For Semi-Truck Accidents With Intoxicated Drivers
There are a number of state and federal regulations that prohibit the use of alcohol and drugs for commercial truck drivers. According to California Vehicle Code 23152 (f), “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.” Commercial truck drivers are held to a higher standard than the general public. For example, under California law a driver is legally intoxicated if they have a BAC of 0.08. Truck drivers are considered legally intoxicated if they have a BAC of 0.04 or higher.
There is no “legal limit” for driving under the influence of marijuana. Chemical tests to determine the level of THC in a driver’s bloodstream are often unreliable. However, There are a number of other factors that a criminal court will look at to determine if someone was impaired from cannabis including:
- The defendants driving pattern
- The defendants statement to police (e.g., an admission of guilt)
- Whether or not a defendant failed a field sobriety test.
- Physical symptoms of intoxication including dilated pupils, red eyes and the odor of marijuana
When a truck driver is intoxicated and causes an accident they will likely face criminal liability. If they kill someone under the influence they will typically be charged with gross vehicular manslaughter and face a lengthy prison sentence. The company that employed a truck driver may also face liability for the accident as well. Companies are generally liable for the negligent conduct of their employees – insofar as those employees are working within the course and scope of their job duties.
The family of any victim that died in a semi-truck accident with an intoxicated driver may have legal recourse through California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60. Damages in a civil claim can include help for medical bills, lost wages, emotional trauma as well as punitive damages. A truck accident attorney can investigate your case free of cost and get to the bottom of what happened. They can make sure that evidence is being preserved and that your rights are being protected.
Investigating A Fresno County Truck Accident
We at West Coast Trial Lawyers extend our deepest condolences to the family of Olivia Mendoza as they are going through such a difficult time. Any person that may have seen the accident should reach out to police as they continue their investigation. This is a completely senseless tragedy that should never have taken place. The driver of this semi-truck should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and held to account for their decisions.
If you or someone that you love has been involved in a semi-truck accident there are a number of laws designed to protect your rights. Our team of personal injury attorneys are here to answer any questions that you may have. We are committed to making sure that accident victims are aware of their rights so that they can make informed decisions. Whether you need a free, independent investigation into a truck company responsible for an accident or just have questions about the law we are here for you. You’re always welcome to reach out to us anytime at (888) 888-9285.