80-year-old Che Yeung was critically injured after a suspected underage drunk driver struck the woman with her vehicle early Sunday morning. Yeung was struck by a vehicle shortly before 7 a.m. Sunday morning and was hospitalized in critical condition. 17-year-old Christina Burns has been charged with driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident with a serious physical injury.
Burns had slept over at a home on Ashford Drive following a house party on Saturday night. Prosecutors say that she admitted to drinking “five sparkling seltzers” at the party the night before the crash, but police believe she had more drinks.
Police believe that Burns left the home at around 6:50 a.m. and that she was allegedly still intoxicated. Her vehicle only traveled two blocks before leaving the road, striking a mailbox, and then driving across a lawn before crashing into Yeung, who was walking along Ashford Drive.
Burns has been accused of leaving the scene of this crash. Roughly 30 minutes later, police say she got into a second crash at the intersection of Route 347 and Route 25 in Nesconset.
Police determined that Burns was involved in both crashes. According to the prosecution, she consented to a field sobriety test and had blood drawn for a toxicology screening.
Burns’ uncle, 50-year-old Francis Rogalle, has been charged with violating Suffolk County’s social host law for allegedly allowing his teenage niece to drink alcohol during a graduation party for his daughter the night before. He faces a $500 fine for a first offense and could potentially be held civilly liable as well.
After incidents such as the one above, victims may be wondering, “I got hit by a drunk driver what I am entitled to?” Attorney contributor Laurence Banville represents people who have been injured by drunk drivers, helping them fight for the financial compensation they deserve. Here are a few thoughts from Laurence on the legal rights of these victims and families in New York:
If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver in New York or any other state, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit against that drunk driver. However, New York is also one of several states with dram shop laws, which allow the victims of drunk drivers to file lawsuits against third parties like alcohol vendors and social hosts, depending on the circumstances of the crash.
According to New York law, an alcohol vendor or social host can be held liable for injuries caused by someone they gave alcohol to if the vendor or host “knowingly” caused intoxication by unlawfully providing alcohol to someone else. This applies in two situations:
For example, if an adult provided alcohol to someone under 21 during a house party and that person went on to injure someone else in a drunk driving crash, the injured person may have grounds for a lawsuit against the adult who provided that alcohol.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver, you can learn more about your family’s legal options by contacting an experienced drunk driving injury lawyer.