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Woman charged with fatal Redondo Beach car accident

Californians celebrating the holidays rarely expect tragedy to intrude, but that is what can happen when someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs tries to drive. This was reportedly the case in Redondo Beach recently when an allegedly intoxicated driver ran a red light and plowed into a gathering of churchgoers, following an evening Christmas performance. Four people were fatally injured, and another eight suffered a range of injuries from minor to serious.

According to the Redondo Beach Police Department, the accident occurred outside St. James Catholic Church on the Pacific Coast Highway around 8 p.m. when the female driver, 56, reportedly ran a red light and then entered a small crowd at high speed. Several people were thrown onto the hood of the vehicle before it hit another vehicle. A 6-year-old boy and three women ages 36, 81 and 87 were fatally injured. Several children and adults received care at the scene, and some were taken to area hospitals.

The alleged driver, who was also injured, was later arrested and charged with felony vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. Police say a blood sample taken at the time of her arrest showed the presence of prescription medications in her bloodstream. She was arraigned the following day in a Torrance courtroom while on her hospital gurney. She entered a not guilty plea.

Following a car accident, people who are injured and the families of anyone killed can seek compensation when the negligence of another person can be shown to have contributed to the accident. Victims can use the same evidence prosecutors use in pursuing criminal charges, especially evidence that substantiates negligence.

Before filing a civil lawsuit, a knowledgeable legal professional should be consulted to ensure that negligence can be established and that the compensation is appropriate to the injuries and losses suffered.

Source: CBS Los Angeles, "Police identify driver suspected in Redondo Beach crash that killed 3," Dec. 18, 2014

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