On March 29, 2009, two USC students, Adrianna Bachan and Marcus Garfinkle, were walking home from a fraternity party when they were struck by a vehicle that failed to stop at a red light at a crosswalk. Bachan, 18, died from massive head injuries. Garfinkle was carried about 300 feet down the street on the hood of the car but survived with multiple injuries, including two broken legs. A student who witnessed the crash testified at a court hearing last year that he saw the car's passenger haul Garfinkle's body out of the vehicle's broken windshield while the driver pushed from the inside. The passenger then dumped Garfinkle onto the sidewalk before the car sped off.
An anonymous tip led to the arrests of Claudia Cabrera, who was driving the car and her husband, Josue Luna, who was the passenger that evening. Their 7-month-old baby was in the backseat of the vehicle as well. Cabrera, 31, fled because she had been drinking earlier in the evening and had also had her driver's license suspended and a lawsuit filed against her following a previous collision where she had stopped.
When Cabrera was arrested she tried to blame the accident on her husband, who was in Mexico at the time. The authorities found that the pair allegedly tried to cover up the crash by getting the car's windshield fixed before having the vehicle towed to Tijuana, Mexico. Luna was arrested as he was coming back into the United States about two weeks later but the vehicle was never recovered.
Both plead no contest in March to a felony charge of hit-and-and run resulting in great bodily injury. Cabrera also plead no contest to a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter. Judge Robert J. Perry issued a sentence of eight years in prison for Claudia Cabrera, the driver, and seven years for Josue Luna, who was riding in the front passenger seat.
If you or someone you know has been charged with Vehicular Manslaughter or Hit-and-Run, contact Robert M. Bernstein for a free consultation today.