A 22-year-old Hayward man recently pleaded guilty to felony drunk driving charges for causing a pedestrian accident that injured a 9-year-old boy and his aunt after a Giants game. The accident happened last fall as the two were returning to their hotel after a Giants-Phillies game at AT&T Park.
Drunk driving is one of the leading contributing factors to pedestrian accidents. Drunk drivers are more likely to speed and drive recklessly and less likely to see pedestrians in crosswalks until it is too late. Pedestrians injured in drunk driving accidents are entitled to compensation for their injuries and can hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions by filing personal injury lawsuits.
Authorities say that the Hayward man was highly intoxicated and driving the wrong way on New Montgomery Street when he turned onto Mission Street and hit the pedestrians in a crosswalk. The 9-year-old boy sustained a fractured pelvis, broken legs and a liver laceration. The boy's aunt was also hit and suffered a foot injury. The injured pedestrians watched as the Hayward man crashed into several nearby cars and then fled the scene.
Authorities were able to track him down about an hour after the accident at a location near his apartment. The driver had a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit and an open bottle of liqueur was found in his truck.
This accident highlights just how serious pedestrian accidents can be. Pedestrians often suffer serious injuries resulting in permanent disabilities or months of rehabilitation. Prosecutors say that the 9-year-old boy injured in this crash can walk again and goes to school part time, but that he still has a long way to go.
"To say that he is where he was before the accident is a stretch," a prosecutor said of the boy's progress. "He still has a long road of recovery, but he's doing a lot better."
Recent data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that approximately 70,000 pedestrians suffer personal injuries in pedestrian accidents every year. The most recent NHTSA data concerns pedestrian accidents in 2010. That year saw a 4.2 percent rise in pedestrian accident deaths despite declining numbers of car accident fatalities.
Alcohol is a large contributing factor in fatal pedestrian accidents. The NHTSA data indicates that about half of fatal pedestrian accidents in 2010 involved a legally intoxicated driver or pedestrian.