Late last month, a 30-year-old man crashed his BMW into a parked car shortly after leaving a bar in the Kearny Mesa neighborhood of San Diego, California. The man lost control of his car and slammed into a number of trees, as well as the parked car, which was unoccupied. The driver and a female passenger in the backseat were uninjured by the car accident. The front-seat passenger was seriously injured when his ankle was pinned during the collision. The man was arrested after the collision and booked on suspicion of felony DUI.
According to reports, the alleged drunk driver was on his way home from a bar that was only half a mile from his house. But during that short drive the man lost control of his car, demonstrating the seriousness of driving under the influence regardless of the distance or amount of time behind the wheel.
The driver now faces criminal charges for felony DUI, which can have major consequences, including losing his driver's license, fines, administrative sanctions and even jail time. Fortunately, the driver hit an unoccupied car or the situation could have been much worse.
In addition to criminal DUI charges, the man may be civilly responsible for the damage he caused to the parked car, as well as to the city of San Diego if the trees and other property he destroyed were owned by the city. Most importantly, the man owed a duty of care to his passengers, and in this case he may have violated this duty by driving drunk. Because of this breach of duty, he may also be liable for damages stemming from the serious injury he inflicted on his passenger, including his medical expenses.
Source: San Diego 6, "DUI Suspect arrested after allegedly slamming into a parked car," July 27, 2012