Drunk driving is a pervasive problem in California. Despite all of the warnings, public awareness, and stricter penalties for violations, people still get behind the wheel of their vehicles while intoxicated. Drinking while driving increases your risk of being involved in a car accident and, in the worst cases, someone can lose their life.
Sadly, this tragic situation became a reality last week in Huntington Beach, California. Two families had to say goodbye to their loved ones forever as a result of a DUI collision.
On Tuesday, January 19th, 2021, an elderly woman and a young boy were tragically killed in a three-vehicle crash caused by drunk driving. Authorities responded to the crash on Pacific Coast Highway near Warner Avenue and found three vehicles that suffered extensive damage. A preliminary investigation determined that 35-year-old Eric Kinser was traveling northbound at a dangerous speed in a 2007 Dodge Ram pickup truck when he crossed over the center median into southbound lanes. He then collided head on with a 1999 Toyota Solara driven by Mitchell Tyler Wade, 19, and a 2012 Lexus RX350 driven by Cindy Zerovs, 71.
Sadly, Zerovs did not survive the impact of the crash. She died immediately at the scene of the crime; her female passenger was transported to a nearby hospital with moderate to severe injuries. Wade was transported to UCI Medical Center to receive medical treatment, but he unfortunately succumbed to his injuries a few hours later.
Charged With DUI Felony
Kinser was transported to a hospital for treatment and remained hospitalized the following day. Following his recovery, the courts charged Kinser with two felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and one felony count of driving under the influence while driving with a blood-alcohol concentration above the legal limit. Prosecutors also charged him with a felony enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury, which can lengthen his sentence should he be found guilty.
Huntington Beach Police’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team is investigating the incident further. Meanwhile GoFundMe accounts have been set up on behalf of the victims’ families to help with funeral expenses.