Hit-and-Run Spotlights Drunk Driving Danger

Oregonians could learn some lessons about the dangers of drunk driving accidents from an incident unfolding to our south, in Northern California.

A 64-year-old retired La Selva Beach man is facing serious charges after what media reports describe as a classic drunk driving hit-and-run accident. The Santa Cruz Sentinel, quoting police sources, says the alleged perpetrator “was driving a 2006 Camry south on State Park Drive approaching the Highway 1 off ramp just before 2 p.m.” last Sunday when he hit a 12-year-old boy in a crosswalk.

The paper reports that the driver fled, but witnesses at the scene “helped identify him” leading to his arrest just over an hour later. The good news is that the child does not appear to have been seriously injured.

Here in Oregon we, like many other Americans, often fall into the trap of thinking of drunk driving as primarily a young person’s problem. It was, after all, barely a generation ago that curbing drunk driving among teens was cited as the main motivator behind the nationwide campaign to raise the drinking age to 21. Accidents like this one, however, should serve as a reminder that the problem of drinking and driving – and of bars and stores that violate the Oregon dram shop law by selling or serving alcohol to obviously intoxicated people – is not confined to teens and 20-somethings.

It should not take drunk driving injuries to Oregon children to remind us how important these issues are. The California driver in question is now facing serious charges (though the newspaper reports that he was released from custody after his initial arrest pending further legal proceedings), as should anyone foolish enough to get behind the wheel while impaired. Victims and their families should know that our legal system is here to help them and defend their rights. Contacting an Oregon drunk driving injury lawyer can be an essential first step in seeing that justice is done.

Santa Cruz Sentinel via The Silicon Valley Mercury News: La Selva Beach man arrested after child is hit in crosswalk