That’s what a 20-year old driver is facing for the drunken collateral damage death of a cyclist in April of last year.
Thirty-nine-year old Haitham Gamal was riding south on PCH in Dana Point when Dominic Devin Carratt lost control of his car at high speed, drifting 200 feet through a bend in the road before slamming into Gamal’s bike.
Carratt’s car continued to drag him another 500 feet — nearly twice the length of a football field — before hitting a curb and flipping over. Gamal was pronounced dead at the scene, simply because he was in the way.
Carratt and his passenger were taken to a hospital with slight injuries, where he was found to have a blood alcohol level of .15.
Normally, that would be almost twice the legal limit. But as an under-aged driver, the legal limit in this case would be zero.
According to the Orange County District Attorney’s office, Carratt will be arraigned today on felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated, driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury, and driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit causing bodily injury, along with a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury.
I’d call death great bodily injury, all right.
Unlike the LA County DA’s office, the OC DA tends to take cases like this seriously, and is more than willing to throw the book at killer drivers. And they seldom bargain away a case just to get a conviction.
That may be a product of a lighter case load, or more jail space to house convicted drivers.
Or maybe they just give a damn. And take traffic crime seriously.
Thanks to attorney and cyclist Ed Rubinstein for the heads-up.