As millions of Americans wet out into frigid temperatures for New Year’s Eve celebrations across the country, many planned on drinking. Many of those also planned ahead, securing designated drivers or planning to use a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft to get them home. While many studies are unclear as to whether or not such services have made an impact on drunken driving, one thing is clear. All the planning in the world to do the right thing can still end in tragedy when another chooses to drink and drive. KTLA reports on a suspected DUI accident that left four Uber passengers with critical injuries.
37-year-old Michael Steward Forno was behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz SUV early New Year’s Day when he slammed into an Uber vehicle carrying four passengers. Authorities allege that Forno was driving while intoxicated at the time.
It wasn’t Forno’s first accident that night. He is accused of hitting another vehicle, then fleeing, before crashing into the Toyota Prius less than a mile away. He attempted to flee the scene of that accident, but was stopped by witnesses.
Video surveillance also shows the same SUV crashing into a sporting apparel store, which was left damaged.
Both Forno and the Uber driver were hospitalized with injuries following the crash. Four passengers inside the Uber vehicle also suffered critical injuries. Their conditions were not immediately clear.
Forno is charged with DUI alcohol, hit-and-run driving resulting in death or serious injury to another, causing bodily injury to another with a blood-alcohol content of .08 or greater, and hit-and-run causing property damage.
If convicted, he faces up to 14 years and 2-months in state prison. His bail was set at $330,000.
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