Last Update: 7/13/2020
A 19-year-old man was arrested last week after allegedly crashing his pickup truck into a family’s vehicle, killing three of the occupants. That man, Mason Robert Fish, appeared in court on February 7 and pleaded not guilty to DUI and manslaughter charges related to the crash.
In total, Fish was charged with three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, felony and misdemeanor counts of DUI causing injury, possession of a controlled substance, and driving without a license. His bail was also increased from $602,000 to $800,000. If convicted on all charges, Fish could spend 13 years in state prison.
Police say Fish was driving south on South Coast Highway at around 1 p.m. when he allegedly drove through a red light at Oceanside Boulevard and crashed his 2007 Toyota Tacoma into the driver’s side of a 2003 Mazda sedan traveling eastbound. The sedan was spent careening across the road and two of the four backseat passengers were ejected from the vehicle. Two men in the front seat of the sedan were trapped in the wreckage and rescued by firefighters. They were hospitalized with moderately serious injuries.
Three of the Mazda occupants were killed in the crash. They have been identified as 74-year-old Rufina Arango Rodriguez, 40-year-old Petra Arango, and 56-year-old Eloina Arango. Three others were injured – Petra Arango’s 13-year-old daughter, 82-year-old Aquilino Arango Ojeda, and 43-year-old Rey David Velasco Herrera.
Fish escaped unscathed from the accident. According to the criminal complaint, he was in possession of cocaine but it’s not clear if that was in his system at the time of the crash.
Legal Herald contributor Bobby Thompson helps victims of DUI accidents get the justice and financial compensation they deserve. In discussing the legal options available to individuals hit by a drunk driver, he had the following to share.
“In California, like all other states, the victims of alcohol-related crashes and other accidents caused by negligent drivers have the right to file a lawsuit directly against the driver. California also has third-party liability laws – however, these laws are more restrictive than other states. In most cases, alcohol vendors and social hosts cannot be held liable for accidents caused by someone to whom they provided alcohol. However, there are a couple of exceptions that may still make this a possibility. Outside of these detailed exceptions, ‘dram shop’ laws are not as established in California as they are in other states of the country.”