Intoxicated Driving in Tucson results in Death of 2 passengers, 2 others injured
On the evening of Wednesday, May 24, 2012 around 9:20 p.m. Jacklyn Diane Salazar-Braisacher, 21, lost control of her red pickup truck. The truck careened off a cliff of Box Canyon road in Madera Canyon. Madera Canyon is located between Tucson and Nogales off of interstate 19. Salazar-Braisarcher is suspected of driving under the influence and faces murder charges as a result of the death of two of her passengers.
Salazar-Braisarcher presumably lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle tumbled off the cliff falling approximately 200 feet. During the fall the vehicle rolled multiple times. One of the passengers in the vehicle was ejected. Two of Salazar-Braisarcher’s passengers died and were identified as Tucson residents Dustin James Bean, 22, and Zaida Ozelle Cruz Pacelli, 18. Anthony Michael Bencomo, 23, was taken to University Medical Center in serious condition. Salazar-Braisarcher was treated for non-life threatening injuries and was detained in the Pima County Adult Detention Center on two counts of second-degree murder and one count of aggravated assault. Pima County Sheriff’s Department investigation note Salazar-Braisarcher had been driving under the influence of alcohol.
Steps to Take After an Accident
After an accident, it’s important to remain as calm as possible. First, check for injuries; if you’re unsure of your own health or the health of other people involved in the accident, it is best to contact emergency services. Turn on your vehicles hazard lights in addition to using reflective cones or road flares to alert other traffic of disabled vehicles. If the accident is minor and all vehicles involved are operational, move the vehicles to a safe place, out of traffic. Contact the police department, even if the accident is minor and notify your insurance agent.
While it may be tempting to discuss the incident with other parties involved to clarify what happened or solidify details of the accident, it’s imperative to keep the discussion of the accident and facts to police, insurance agents, and legal personnel. Take notes of the events leading up to the accident and about the scene of the accident for your memory, and if possible take pictures with a digital camera or cell phone documenting the accident. Get contact information for the other driver’s involved as well as any applicable witnesses. It’s also recommended to not leave the scene of the accident prior to the police and other drivers.
In instances where an accident results in serious injury or death of one or more of the parties involved it is also important to seek legal counsel immediately after the accident. Car accident lawyers offer legal representation that will communicate and work with insurance companies to seek monetary compensation that will commiserate with the level of damage and injury that resulted from the accident.
Prepare your Vehicle Before an Accident
Vehicle accidents are unanticipated and stressful for all parties involved. Often drivers are ill prepared for an accident and are unsure of what steps to take in regard to the accident. Even the most cautious, defensive driver can find themselves amidst a vehicle accident. It is imperative that all parties involved receive complete and full information regarding the drivers involved as well as protect themselves from other traffic that may present a major safety hazard.
Preparing a vehicle before an accident can prove time saving and can help avoid further, unnecessary damage to a vehicle. Purchasing a car safety kit that includes reflective cones or emergency flairs will help alert traffic that there are disabled vehicles on the road. Completing emergency contact cards with pertinent medical and contact information for you and your family is important in the event that one or more of the passengers in the vehicle are unable to provide the information to emergency personnel.
In Arizona, all vehicles must have minimum state insurance and must also be registered with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division. State minimum insurance required by all drivers currently is $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident for bodily injury liability and $10,000 per accident for property damage. It is important to obtain at least the legal minimum for insurance on a vehicle prior to any accident. Vehicle insurance protects people and property involved in an accident. It may be recommended to obtain above the state minimum insurance to cover an accident where the other driver is uninsured or underinsured. Many insurance companies also offer rental car packages in the event a vehicle is non-operational after an accident.
Luke Air Force Base Service Member Killed in Phoenix Car Acciden
A fatal accident on Interstate 10 near 51st Avenue in Phoenix claimed the life of a Luke Air Force Base active-duty service member. Base officials have confirmed that 26 year old, active-duty Senior Airman Kenneth M. Lee Jr. was killed in the car accident. While the accident and events leading up to the accident are still under investigation, it is suspected that Lee was not wearing a seat belt. Around 9 p.m. Saturday May 12, 2012, Lee lost control of the BMW and was ejected from the car after it rolled over multiple times. The BMW was headed east toward Tempe and was in the lane immediately next to the HOV lane. When Lee lost control of the vehicle the car ran off the right side of the road. Lee was pronounced dead after arriving at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.
The other passenger in the vehicle, who was properly restrained in a seat belt, escaped the accident with minor injuries. Investigators continue to determine if other vehicles were involved in the accident or whether high speeds had an impact on the severity of the accident. They do note, however, that there was no indication that alcohol was a contributing factor to the fatal, roll-over accident.
Lee, originally from San Antonio, Texas, had served at Luke Air force Base since 2008 as part of the 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron. He is the second Luke Air Force service member to tragically die in a vehicle accident within a month. In late April, 29 year old, Staff Sargent Justin Miller was killed in a motorcycle accident.
Fatal Accident in Connecticut Raises Concerns about Distracted Driving
A minor in Connecticut was arrested and faces a jail sentence, suspended license, and fine for causing a fatal car accident while using her cell phone. Criminal charges are pending against the 16 year-old driver that fatally hit Kenneth Dorsey in Norwalk Connecticut on March 24, 2012. The accident brings to light the issue of driving while distracted. Police officials urge drivers to put down their phones and other distracting electronic devices while driving. Connecticut is one of 31 states and Washington D.C. that have current legislature banning the use of cell phones by junior drivers and 38 states strictly ban texting while driving. Ohio is slated to be the 39th state to enact a texting-ban after the governor signs final approval. Ohio’s ban would be a primary offense for teen drivers.
Arizona currently has only three bans on cell-phone use while driving. In the cities of Phoenix and Tucson drivers are banned from texting while driving, which is considered a primary offense, and face a minimum $100 fine and school bus drivers cannot use cell phones at all while operating a bus. 2012 has been a busy year for distracted driving legislature in Arizona. Senate Bill 1056 would prevent underage drivers, with learner permits or class G licenses for less than 6 months, from utilizing wireless communication while driving. SB 1056 was approved in January and passed to the House. House Bill 2312 would outlaw driving while distracted, period. It also would require accident investigators to note distracted driving in an accident report. House Bill 2321 would outlaw texting while driving in the state of Arizona with a minimum fine of $50, or $200 if the driver was involved in an accident.