Many of you may remember the tragedy that occurred in January of this year involving a famous track star and a ten-car pileup resulting in three fatalities. The accident took place in Newport Beach and took the lives of three Californians after the former track star’s vehicle went airborne and careened into ten other cars. Her Ford Taurus was exceeding the speed limit along Coast Highway on January 15 when it struck a raised median and airlifted into the oncoming lanes of traffic. The driver and two others was killed in the incident.
Toxicology results were released today by the Orange County coroner and apparently the driver was under the influence of strong anti-psychotic drugs at the time of the incident. In addition, her sodium and glucose levels were dangerously low, which could have caused an epileptic episode before the crash. The drugs involved in the crash were Olanzapine and Quetiapine; both known to cause marked drowsiness and possible confusion. These medications are used to treat bipolar disorder and other forms of mental disability. The apparent low levels of glucose and sodium are known to cause seizures and fainting, but experts caution us to remember that the toxicology samples were taken long after the crash took place and it is very possible these levels dropped post-mortem.
The driver’s toxicology results did not reveal the presence of any other drugs nor did alcohol play a part in the crash. The anti-psychotic drugs present in the report are typically prescribed for those with severe bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia or other debilitating mental illnesses. Both drugs containing warning from the manufacturing against driving while under the influence of the medications before the individual knows how she will be affected. Each person can react differently to the medications depending upon body chemistry and dosage. The driver’s parents insist she was faithful in taking her medication and was in raining for track and field competitions.
Despite the multiple fatalities and devastating losses suffered by all parties involved in this crash, officials are considering the case closed. As the driver is now deceased, there is no opportunity for prosecution of any crimes. It remains to be seen whether any wrongful death or personal injury actions will be filed against the driver’s estate. California law provides the decedent’s family up to one year from the date of the cash to file for wrongful death while personal injury victims (those having survived the crash) can file a lawsuit against the estate up to two years from the date of the crash.
If you have personal injury questions, contact us at (800)-300-0001.