Keep California Safe: No Drunk Driving This Labor Day
The tragic story of Jose Cortez Diaz, age 4, reminds us of the immense harm caused by drunk drivers. On July 11, 2010, Jose was a passenger in his father’s truck which had broken down on Highway 101 in San Jose. His father pulled the family truck to the shoulder of the road, when a Ford pickup driven by a drunk driver slammed into the rear of their vehicle. The impact caused a loose toolbox to fly through the air striking Jose in the head and killing him instantly.
The driver of the pick up truck was arrested on the scene. He now faces felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter charges. While he faces serious criminal charges that will some day be resolved, the Diaz family loss is permanent. Jose’s father spoke about his pain. “Maybe people who know pain will understand” As he fell to his knees, clutching his son’s toys and kissing an old photo, he added between sobs: “I don’t wish anybody to feel this type of pain. I just wish people wouldn’t drink and take the wheel. This is why I lost my son.”
Labor Day is next week. Last Labor day, there were over 400 arrests in Alameda County alone for drunk driving. Between 2007 and 2009, there were over 21,000 arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol. As an Oakland personal injury lawyer who has represented victims of drunk driving, I have seen the devastation caused by these auto accidents. While criminal proceedings and insurance company settlements may provide some consolation to the victims of drunk driving, they can never make up for the loss of a loved one such as Jose. The only way to prevent these tragedies is to not drink if you are going to drive. Have a safe Labor Day.
San Jose Mercury News, Gilroy family tries to cope with DUI death of 4-year-old child, August 18, 2010