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Young California Driver Arrested After System Failed Her

Posted by Terry A. Wapner | Feb 19, 2014 | 0 Comments

A young California woman is at a hospital, being treated for injuries after she was involved in a terrible car accident near Diamond Bar, California. Although not confirmed, it is presumed that alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Olivia Culbreath, a resident of Fontana, was arrested after police pulled her out of a wrecked Camaro she had been driving at the time of the accident. Apparently, she was driving her car the wrong way on a Southern California freeway early Sunday morning.

Witnesses to the accident say that Culbreath's car was traveling at speeds as much as 100 mph right before it collided with a Ford Explorer. After the initial crash, a Ford Freestyle ran into the Explorer.

Due to the accident, Culbreath suffered a broken femur and ruptured bladder. The two other women in the car with her died at the scene. One of the women was Culbreath's older sister and the other was a friend. The women were both 24. All four passengers in the Ford Explorer were also declared dead, either at the scene of the accident or shortly later, at the hospital. The driver of the Ford Freestyle suffered only minor injuries.

Authorities said that there was an alcoholic beverage found at the scene of the accident. Of course, alcohol is therefore presumed to be involved. In addition, DMV records show that Culbreath had her driver's license suspended after a 2010 conviction. Culbreath was convicted for driving under the influence at age 17. Her license was reinstated in 2011.

Culbreath, her family and the friends and family of the other victims have all suffered horrible losses. This was a tragic accident.

When I first read this news report, I was struck by the fact that she had been convicted of DUI in the past as a teenager. To me, this means that the state of California failed this young woman. California is a state that claims to have a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to minors and DUI. A minor is charged with DUI when he or she is found to have a BAC of .01% or greater.

When convicted, in addition to paying fines, license suspension of one year, and potential jail time, the minor should also be required to attend and participate in alcohol education classes. These alcohol programs are supposed to be geared towards minors and their issues with alcohol. Unfortunately, in many cases, these troubled minors simply show up to the class and more or less “go through the motions.” Their names get checked off and they have then “completed” this sentencing requirement.

When the program is not taken seriously, it subsequently glosses over the real problems that some of these teenagers have with alcohol. I am assuming that Ms. Culbreath was required to attend such a program. It is very unfortunate because, had Ms. Culbreath received more care and attention during her program, this terrible accident may not have occurred. For these programs to make any kind of difference, program counselors must work hard to identify the real problems that are at the core of the minor's issues.

About the Author

Terry A. Wapner

Terry A. Wapner confines his practice to the defense of persons accused of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and related crimes.

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