Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Fresno DA Joins Other Top Prosecutors Warning of Deadly DUI Crash Surge
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 2 years ago on
December 23, 2021

Share

 

Fresno’s top prosecutor and those from six other California counties warned Wednesday that they are seeing a rapid rise in deadly DUI crashes just as people begin socializing for the holidays and planning New Year’s Eve outings.

Traffic fatalities jumped 15% statewide, comparing the most recent statistics for October to a year ago, though not all were linked to impaired driving.

The district attorneys largely blamed the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve been facing a very difficult time for the last almost two years now,” said Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’re seeing increased DUI fatalities.”

Smittcamp Says Alcohol Consumption Increasing

“This has been a very stressful time for everybody,” added Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp. “Alcohol sales have gone up, alcohol consumption has gone up.”

The increase in people killed in DUI crashes in California “echoes a similar trend occurring nationwide,” California Highway Patrol spokeswoman Fran Clader said separately.

She cited a June warning from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that early estimates showed an increase in traffic fatalities nationwide in 2020. The agency listed the leading causes as impaired driving, speeding, and failing to wear a seatbelt.

California’s second largest county “is struggling with its worst episode of deadly DUI crashes in two decades,” said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan, with 37 deaths to date — about double its historical average.

Sacramento County vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated cases climbed incrementally from 2017 through last year, but more than doubled this year from 12 to 27.

Among the victims is Mike Dodson, 76, who died three weeks after he was struck while biking on a popular Sacramento County paved trail in June, said Schubert. A 25-year-old man faces murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and other charges.

“We can never forget that there are human beings that will never be back to share this holiday season with their families,” said Schubert, who is running a law-and-order campaign for state attorney general.

Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer filed twice as many fatal DUI-related charges this year, with 26 dead, as she did last year when 11 people were killed.

DUI deaths dipped last year before doubling to 14 so far this year in El Dorado County. Vehicular manslaughter cases involving intoxication increased from one last year to five this year in Yolo County, also a smaller county in the Sacramento area.

Fatalities Expected to Rise

Statewide, fatal crashes and victims increased steadily since 2018, according the CHP, and though numbers are down so far this year, they are expected to rise.

Deadly crashes statewide rose from 700 in 2018 to 720 in 2019 and 824 last year, according to the figures compiled for The Associated Press. There were 519 reported so far this year.

Similarly, fatality victims ticked up from 816 in 2018 to 818 in 2019 but jumped to 941 last year, with 579 so far this year.

The statistics seem to indicate more deadly results in recent years, though the CHP couldn’t provide an explanation. Both the number of injury crashes and injury victims declined over the four-year period, even as the number of fatalities increased.

Impaired Driving Awareness Campaign

There were nearly 14,000 injury crashes and nearly 21,000 injured victims in 2018. They fell to 12,602 injury crashes and 18,344 injured victims by last year, though those figures are still considered to be preliminary.

At least 38 people were killed in crashes in California during the 78-hour period surrounding last year’s Christmas holiday, the CHP said. It didn’t say how many were considered to be the result of DUIs, but noted CHP officers made 573 arrests for driving under the influence during that period.

California officials last week launched a “Don’t Let Drunk Drive/Don’t Let High Drive” campaign. And all available CHP officers will be on the road this year from 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

The CHP on Wednesday highlighted five laws, all but one enacted this year, though only two take effect Jan. 1. One requires those under age 18 to wear helmets while riding horses on paved roadways; the second clarifies the definition of tribal emergency vehicles.

But a law that took effect July 1 increased the penalty for repeated use of a handheld cellphone while driving. Penalties for participating in “sideshows” will increase July 1, 2025. And in 2027, a new exemption kicks in for towing recreational trailers.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Legacy of Speed: The 1,600 Horsepower 1957 ‘Skeva’ Chevy Bel Air Built in Fresno

DON'T MISS

KMJ’s Gabriel & Musson Win Radio Honors, Fresno Council Plaudits

DON'T MISS

Tabloid Publisher Says He Pledged to Be Trump Campaign’s ‘Eyes and Ears’ During 2016 Race

DON'T MISS

General Motors Reports Strong First-Quarter Profits as Prices Help Offset Small US Sales Dip

DON'T MISS

Caitlin Clark Is Set to Sign a New Nike Deal Valued at $28 Million Over 8 Years, Reports Say

DON'T MISS

Fresno’s Baklava House Entices Foodies With Its Delicious Flavors

DON'T MISS

A Far-Right German EU Lawmaker’s Aide Is Arrested on Suspicion of Spying for China

DON'T MISS

Wall Street Rallies and Adds to Its Hot Start to the Week

DON'T MISS

The Icon Returns: Discover the All-New 2024 Land Cruiser

DON'T MISS

Newsom Criticizes Local Response to Homelessness. He Should Look in the Mirror.

UP NEXT

KMJ’s Gabriel & Musson Win Radio Honors, Fresno Council Plaudits

UP NEXT

Fresno’s Baklava House Entices Foodies With Its Delicious Flavors

UP NEXT

CA Lawmakers Reject Bill Cracking Down on Utilities Spending Customers’ Money

UP NEXT

Work Starts on Bullet Train Line From Las Vegas to LA

UP NEXT

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

UP NEXT

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Safe After Suspect Breaks Into Official Residence, Police Say

UP NEXT

Newsom Wants to Make It Easier for Arizona Women to Get a California Abortion

UP NEXT

15 People Injured When Tram Collides With Guardrail at Universal Studios Theme Park

UP NEXT

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

UP NEXT

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

General Motors Reports Strong First-Quarter Profits as Prices Help Offset Small US Sales Dip

2 hours ago

Caitlin Clark Is Set to Sign a New Nike Deal Valued at $28 Million Over 8 Years, Reports Say

2 hours ago

Fresno’s Baklava House Entices Foodies With Its Delicious Flavors

3 hours ago

A Far-Right German EU Lawmaker’s Aide Is Arrested on Suspicion of Spying for China

3 hours ago

Wall Street Rallies and Adds to Its Hot Start to the Week

3 hours ago

The Icon Returns: Discover the All-New 2024 Land Cruiser

4 hours ago

Newsom Criticizes Local Response to Homelessness. He Should Look in the Mirror.

4 hours ago

Google Fires More Workers Who Protested Its Deal With Israel

4 hours ago

LeBron James Rants at NBA’s Replay Center for Calls, Lakers Lose on Buzzer-Beater

4 hours ago

Winn Sharp Again, Conforto Homers as Giants Clip Mets

5 hours ago

Legacy of Speed: The 1,600 Horsepower 1957 ‘Skeva’ Chevy Bel Air Built in Fresno

In my travels as a filmmaker and automotive historian, I uncover stories that paint a vivid picture of passion and engineering coming togeth...

19 mins ago

19 mins ago

Legacy of Speed: The 1,600 Horsepower 1957 ‘Skeva’ Chevy Bel Air Built in Fresno

25 mins ago

KMJ’s Gabriel & Musson Win Radio Honors, Fresno Council Plaudits

2 hours ago

Tabloid Publisher Says He Pledged to Be Trump Campaign’s ‘Eyes and Ears’ During 2016 Race

2 hours ago

General Motors Reports Strong First-Quarter Profits as Prices Help Offset Small US Sales Dip

2 hours ago

Caitlin Clark Is Set to Sign a New Nike Deal Valued at $28 Million Over 8 Years, Reports Say

3 hours ago

Fresno’s Baklava House Entices Foodies With Its Delicious Flavors

3 hours ago

A Far-Right German EU Lawmaker’s Aide Is Arrested on Suspicion of Spying for China

3 hours ago

Wall Street Rallies and Adds to Its Hot Start to the Week

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend