Contra Costa County, CA- Last week, the Walnut Creek man responsible for fatally injuring a pedestrian pleaded not guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter, following a traffic accident last fall where he fatally struck a Santa Barbara teacher.
On Sept. 8, 2012, Hossein Tabrizi, who works as a mechanic, was driving his truck along North Main Street in Walnut Creek. Tabrizi lost control of his vehicle in front the Marriot Hotel and drove up on the sidewalk where a Santa Barbara math teacher, Sherry Hicks and her daughter in-law were standing. Tabrizi struck Hicks and Sheng Hahn, killing Hicks instantly and seriously injuring Hahn, according to the Contra Costa Times.
At the time of the accident, police discovered that Tabrizi was on a prescription medication called Lorazepam, which is prescribed for anxiety and depression. Just prior to the accident, Tabrizi was seen passed out behind the wheel at a stop light and was aroused by a passerby before the police were called, the Contra Costa Times reported.
When police caught up with Tabrizi, they administered field sobriety test, but determined he was not intoxicated and let him go. Just a few minutes later he ran over Hicks and Hahn.
Tabrizi was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and a gross bodily harm while intoxicated.
Tabrizi was taken to a local hospital where they conducted a toxicology test, which showed the presence of Lorazepam in his system. When he first arrived hospital staff asked him if he was on any medications he told them he wasn’t.
His attorney, William Gagen, told the Contra Costa Times that the medication could have been administered at the hospital.
“We have no reason to believe he was under the influence of anything based on what we know now,” Gagen said. “No one really seems to understand what happened, whether it was fatigue, whether he passed out, whether there was a medical issue.”
Tabrizi is due to appear in court in April, if the evidence proves that the accident was not caused by intoxication the charges against him could be reduced, but that won’t excuse him of financial liability.
If Tabrizi did in fact simply fall asleep behind the wheel that would still imply that his actions were negligent. Driver exhaustion is common issue for motorists, close to 60 percent of all adult drivers admit to falling asleep behind the wheel one or more times while driving.
Only these drivers know when they are too tired to drive and have the responsibility of getting of the roads otherwise they could cause a tragic accident. And though drowsy drivers can be held accountable for their actions in a criminal court this doesn’t address the financial and emotional issues that affect the victims and their families.
The fact is accident victims or their surviving family members need help covering the various costs that accompany injuries and death. For this, they can turn to an accident attorney to file a civil lawsuit. With the assistance of an accomplished attorney traffic collision victims can obtain the financial compensation they deserve.
Tags: Anxiety And Depression, Bodily Harm, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa Times, Field Sobriety Test, Gagen, Gross Vehicular Manslaughter, Hospital Staff, Hossein, Local Hospital, Lorazepam, Marriot Hotel, Math Teacher, Medical Issue, Passerby, Pedestrian Accident, Prescription Medication, Tabrizi, Traffic Accident, Walnut Creek