September 26, 2012—Carmichael, CA—A man who allegedly caused a DUI accident that killed one man, seriously injured a woman and also killed four pets has been charged with homicide in the pending criminal case.
Prosecutors elected to file murder charges in Superior Court in Sacramento on Wednesday. Paul William Walden, 31, was driving drunk and on a suspended license, according to the district attorney. He failed to stop after hitting a man and woman in a crosswalk. Harison Long-Randall, 21, his girlfriend Gemily West, 23, and their four dogs were crossing the street when Walden struck them. Long-Randall died after two weeks in the hospital, and West was seriously injured, requiring intensive medical care. All four dogs were killed.
Several days after the collision, the California Highway Patrol arrested Walden. It turns out that he had three prior DUI arrests. He is now charged with two felony counts of hit-and-run with injury, a special classification for drivers who hit pedestrians or passenger vehicles then flee the scene, leaving victims without aid. He is also charge with four felony animal cruelty counts, two counts of driving on a suspended license, and one misdemeanor DUI in addition to the murder charges.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families in this case.
DUI Statistics Continue to Remain Troubling
While no person should ever be the victim of a drunk driver, a realistic assessment of human nature tells us that there will always be individuals who will drink and drive, many of them repeatedly and despite any attempts by society or the legal system to stop them. However, we would expect to see DUI numbers steadily decreasing as the information about the dangers of drinking and driving are widespread and education programs consistently remind teens and adults of their responsibilities and options.
To a certain extent, this has happened. One study indicates that DUIs have decreased from 7.3 percent of drivers measured in 1973 to 2.2 percent in 2007. However, DUI continues to be a troubling problem, especially for younger drivers. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers estimates that about 33 percent of all fatal accidents involve alcohol, and in the early-morning hours that number may rise to an incredible 75 percent.
What Can We Do To Prevent Drunk Driving?
The most important thing you can do to help save lives and prevent drunk driving is to never get behind the wheel after drinking yourself. The next most important thing you can do is to monitor your friends, guests, and patrons if you are a waiter or bartender, and never let anyone have their keys if they appear intoxicated or if you know they have been drinking. If every individual follows these rules, drunk driving will become a thing of the past.
Liability Issues in Drunk Driving Accidents
A drunk driver is responsible for the physical and emotional damage that he or she causes. A professional DUI accident attorney can help you recover damages if you are the victim of a drunk driver.