When lives are lost in car accidents, especially young lives, the desire to fully understand the reason for a crash is understandable. Unfortunately, making assumptions early in an investigation may lead to false accusations against those involved. For example, police believe that a recent fatal crash in California was the result of drunk driving after finding an empty beer can in one of the vehicles involved.

The incident happened one afternoon on a day in August. Reports indicate that a woman driving a sedan containing two 12-year-old children and the children’s grandmother in addition to the driver pulled over to the side of a California road after experiencing car trouble. Soon afterward, a 60-year-old man stopped to assist them.

Unfortunately, police claim that a pickup truck struck the man and grandmother as they stood behind the disabled car. The truck is then said to have traveled on, striking the rear of the sedan where the children were sitting. All four people died at the scene of the accident. While the driver of the pickup has not been arrested at this time, police are reportedly investigating it as a drunk driving accident after finding an empty beer can in the man’s truck. Although a field sobriety test was reportedly conducted at the scene, the results of it are unclear.

Measures such as field sobriety tests are not always reliable. Results could be misinterpreted due to human error while a suspect’s performance could be skewed as a result of injuries suffered in a crash or the shock of the incident. Those suspected of drunk driving in California — even if an arrest has yet to be made — often seek guidance from an experienced defense attorney. Such a professional can help guide a suspect through the criminal process as early as the questioning phase.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Victims identified as CHP continues to probe cause of Fontana crash that killed 4“, James Queally, Aug. 7, 2017