New Year’s Eve is usually a time for celebration, for looking ahead to future endeavors, and for new beginnings. However, for 2 San Francisco men 57-year-old and 69-year-old (names withheld to protect the anonymity of the accused), 2014 didn’t begin with a glass of champagne with friends and loved ones, it ended in their arrests.
The two accidents happened separately and at two different places in the city. First, 57-year-old driver was driving near the Civic Center around 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve when he turned right (the light wad clearly green) and into a family of 3, including a mother and her 2 children (aged 4 and 6). 6-year-old daughter was killed as a result of the crash that ensued; her 4-year-old brother was also injured. The driver has been arrested for gross negligence and vehicular manslaughter.
Elsewhere in the city, in the Crocker-Amazon area, 69-year-old had been accused of failing to stop at a stop sign and, thus, causing the death of elderly pedestrian, who was crossing the street in a crosswalk at the intersection of Naples and Rolph. The driver has been charged with gross negligence and vehicular manslaughter as well as failing to obey traffic laws.
Neither of these men is, considering the particular date of these accidents, suspected of having had anything to drink before the accidents happened. (CA Penal Code 192(c)) covers vehicular manslaughter when there are also no drugs or alcohol involved. This crime is a ‘wobbler,’ meaning that it can be prosecuted either as a felony or as a misdemeanor, depending on the factual aspects of the case and, in most cases, your criminal history. Both drivers may face up to 1 year in county jail if convicted of a misdemeanor and up to 10 years in state prison if convicted of a felony charge of this kind.