Teen Suspected Drunk Driver Arraigned After Fatal Crash
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 Options for California Drunk Driving Accident Victims and Their Families
Attorney contributor Brian Kent of CrimeVictim.Attorney helps victims of DUI accidents get the justice and financial compensation they deserve. Here is some insight from Brian on the legal options available to these victims in California:
In California, like all other states, the victims of alcohol-related accidents 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:
- Parents, guardians, and other adults can be held liable if they provided alcohol to someone they knew (or had reason to know) was under 21 years old and that minor caused an alcohol-related accident as a result.
- Alcohol vendors can be held liable if they provided alcohol to an “obviously intoxicated minor” who went on to cause an accident as a result of the alcohol.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed after being hit by a drunk driver, we understand how painful this time is for your family. Our experienced DUI accident victims lawyers want to help you recover the full financial compensation you deserve. You can learn more about your legal options in a free consultation.