Three people were injured Wednesday night in a drunk driving accident on Highway 29 near the Darms Lane Vineyard in Napa.
• A drunk driver in a 15-year-old pickup truck tried to pass a BMW on Highway 29.
• The driver lost control of the truck and slammed into the side of the BMW. Both cars went off the highway.
• The drunk driver, his passenger, and the BMW driver all were taken to the same hospital to be treated for minor injuries.
• The drunk driver was arrested and taken to jail.
California Highway Patrol Officer Garret Ray said 56-year-old Steven Perez of St. Helena was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.
Perez was driving a 1997 Ford Ranger pickup truck northbound on Highway 29 when he tried to pass a 2003 BMW 325i north of Darms Lane.
As he attempted to speed past the BMW, Perez lost control of his pickup truck and sideswiped the car, knocking it off of the highway and into an oak tree.
The pickup truck went off of the road, rolled over, and finally came to rest on Washington Street, which runs parallel to the highway.
Both Perez and his passenger, 49-year-old Timothy Case of St. Helena, were injured in the collision. The driver of the BMW, 53-year-old Ana Vigil De Cerda of St. Helena, also was injured. Their injuries were said to be minor, but no information about the nature of the injuries was provided.
All three of them were transported via ground ambulance to Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa. Perez was treated and released into police custody. He was arrested on drunk driving charges and booked into the Napa County Jail, Ray said.
Why Rural Highways Are So Dangerous
Only 23 percent of the U.S. population lives in rural areas, but 57 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities occur on rural roads, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The NHTSA’s latest figures show that the fatality rate per vehicle miles traveled was 2.5 times higher in rural areas than in urban areas.
A large majority of car accident deaths in rural areas — 67 percent — occur on highways, where the speed limit is 55 mph or higher. In urban areas, the opposite is true: 68 percent of all fatal crashes occur on roads where the speed limit is less than 50 mph.
Rural highways often are only two lanes, which presents significant danger to motorists who use the oncoming traffic lane to pass at high speed.
Finally, hospitals are few and far between in rural areas. The risk of dying on the way to the hospital is significantly higher in a rural accident than an urban one.
Napa Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
The trial attorneys at Blackman Legal Group, a California-based law firm founded by renowned trial attorney Clifford Blackman, have successfully represented drunk driving accident victims and their families for 35 years. The nationwide toll-free number to call for a free consultation is 1-866-692-8126.
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