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Man pleads guilty to DUI after fatal Rancho Penasquitos crash

When people drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they are risking not only their own lives, but also the lives of anyone else in their vicinity. Many deaths and serious injuries could be prevented if people would simply choose not to drive under the influence.

Last week, a California man pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter and DUI charges in relation to a fatal car accident that took the life of a 22-year-old man in Rancho Penasquitos last spring. 

The defendant, 19, was on drugs when he crossed a center median on state Route 56, striking a Scion head-on May 16.

The 22-year-old in the Scion was pronounced dead at the scene of the car collision.

Xanax, marijuana and inhalants were detected in the 19-year-old's blood after the crash, and many witnesses had called 911 to report the dangerous driver shortly before the fatal crash.

He is now expected to spend six years in prison for the terrible decisions he made that night.

And, of course, that sentence may pale in comparison to the lives of the family and loved ones of the 22-year-old victim that are forever changed.

It is not clear whether the victim's survivors have also chosen to hold the driver accountable for wrongful death, which can result in compensation for funeral expenses, lost wages and more.

There is no way to truly right the wrongs caused by DUI. Drunk and drugged drivers can be held accountable under the criminal and civil systems, but this cannot bring back lives that have been lost. California residents need to take the responsibility of driving very seriously.

Source: ABC 10 news, "Timothy Barnette pleads guilty in crash on state Route 56 that killed Nick Hart," Oct. 10, 2013

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