California, like many other states, have enhancement charges that can be added to a DUI charge, which will result in stiffer penalties if convicted. Perhaps one of the most familiar enhancements concerns previous DUI charges. However, there is a long list of possible enhancements that can be added to a DUI charge, such as reckless driving, excessive blood-alcohol levels, injuries, child endangerment, and refusal to submit to chemical testing. In a case where the intoxicated driver leaves the scene of an accident, a hit-and-run charge may be added to the DUI charge as well. Prosecutors and judges take hit-and-run DUI charges very seriously.
The LA Times reports on a man facing both hit-and-run and DUI charges for an accident that claimed the life of a man.
The accident, which occurred on Tuesday, December 4th, happened on the 55 Freeway in Costa Mesa.
49-year-old Bernardo Alvarez Zalpa was driving a Honda Accord southbound in the fast lane when he veered into the general traffic lanes. Just after 6 p.m., Zalpa struck a Mini Cooper and continued driving.
Zalpa continued veering to the right, where he collided with another vehicle, this time a Toyota 4-Runner. This collision occurred on the Del Mar Avenue offramp. The 4-Runner was overturned during the crash and the driver was ejected. The driver of the 4-Runner was not wearing a seatbelt.
48-year-old Jose Olquin, the driver of the 4-Runner was pronounced dead at the scene.
Costa Mesa police detained and arrested Zalpa, charging him with driving under the influence and hit-and-run. He was booked into the Orange County jail with a bond set at $100,000.