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Van Nuys drunk driver charged in accident that killed baby

Prosecutors with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office have charged a 25-year-old North Druid Hills man with murder for his role in causing a head-on crash that killed an unborn fetus in an accident that seriously injured its mother. It's believed that the man's intoxication from alcohol is responsible for having caused him to lose control of his vehicle, resulting in the crash.

The man was driving his 2010 Nissan Altima along Hatteras Street and its intersection with Fulton Avenue in Van Nuys on Friday, May 26, when it is argued that he swerved into oncoming traffic. His car made head-on contact with the pregnant woman's 1997 Acura Integra as a result.

First responders dispatched to the scene found that the pregnant woman had suffered serious injuries in the crash. She was taken by ambulance to an area hospital where doctors were able to successfully deliver her baby. The child, a girl, died soon thereafter.

The defendant was arrested on suspicion that he had been driving drunk. His blood alcohol content (BAC) registered at .08 percent, a number in excess of California's legal limits. This, the baby's death and mother's injuries all resulted in the man being charged with one count each of gross vehicular manslaughter with intoxication, murder and driving under the influence (DUI).

He's also facing upgraded charges based on the fact that he's been involved in two prior DUI-related accidents with a BAC as high as .08 in the past ten years. Each of those incidents is believed to have involved injuries as well. The man has three previous misdemeanor convictions for DUI on his record. They were in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

At his arraignment, the man entered a not guilty plea. He's due back in court for another preliminary hearing on June 13, 2017. If convicted on these charges, he faces between 25 years and life in state prison. He's currently being held on a $2 million bail.

DUI charges have the potential to rob an individual of his or her ability to drive and can jeopardize an individual's ability to make a living. In this case, given the aggravated circumstances of the charges, the man runs the risk of losing his freedom.

If you've been charged with drunk driving in Van Nuys, you may benefit from speaking with an experienced DUI defense attorney to learn more about possible defense strategies in your legal case.

Source: CBS Los Angeles KCAL, "North Hills man charged with murder in DUI crash that killed baby girl," June 01, 2017

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