According to a report from CBS Sacramento, law enforcement officers suspect that drugged driving was a factor in a tragic crash that killed an 84-year-old woman just outside of the city limits of Stockton, California. The suspect—25-year-old Juan Contreras Cabrera—is facing a number of different criminal charges. In this blog post, our Stockton auto accident lawyer explains what we know about the accident and discusses the dangers of drugged driving.
Suspected Drugged Driver Fled the Scene of Fatal Crash
A spokesperson for the California Highway Patrol (CHP) told reporters that a pickup truck being driven by Juan Contreras Cabrera was speeding along a stretch of S. Gertrude Ave, on the east side of Stockton. As the pickup approached the stop sign at the intersection of Horner Avenue it failed to stop—slamming into the passenger side of an SUV. The 81-year-old driver of the SUV suffered severe injuries in the collision. Tragically, the 84-year-old passenger was killed in the impact.
CBS Sacramento reports that Mr. Cabrera and his passenger fled the scene of the deadly motor vehicle collision on foot. They were chased down by neighbors and eventually located by law enforcement. The CHP determined that drugged driving was a factor in the crash. Mr. Cabrera is facing several serious criminal charges, including felony DUI, hit-and-run in a deadly crash, and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Drunk Driving Remains a Serious Problem—But there has been Gradual Improvement
Over the last several decades, there has been a significant reduction in drunk driving on American roadways. For reference, the Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that there were 43,825 total traffic fatalities nationwide in 1985. The number includes 18,125 alcohol-related deadly car accidents. That means that 41 percent of all traffic deaths were related to alcohol in 1985.
In 2019, there were 36,096 total traffic fatalities reported in the United States. Of that, the III notes that 10,142 deaths occurred in alcohol-related crashes. That means that 28 percent of all deadly car accidents reported in 2019 were related to alcohol. The total number of fatal accidents and the percentage of alcohol-related fatalities are gradually dropping.
To be clear, the number of drunk driving accidents remains far too high. Each year, more than ten thousand people are killed and many tens of thousands more are injured in drunk driving car accidents that could have been avoided with proper care. Still, the dedicated effort by MADD and other safety groups has made a real impact on public safety.
Drugged Driving is a Growing Public Safety Problem in California
While drunk driving is gradually decreasing, there is some early evidence that drugged driving is on the rise—both in California and throughout the United States. According to a recent report from the California Office of Highway Traffic Safety, catastrophic drugged driving accidents have