Drunk Driver Sentenced to Prison for Killing Passenger in a D.C. Uber

Drunk Driver Sentenced to Prison for Killing Passenger in a D.C. UberMany times, individuals who have been partying and had too many drinks consider Uber to be a true lifesaver as it can get them home safe and sound. However, just like with everything else, there are risks that come with using rideshare services, including car accidents.

A horrific car accident took place in Northwest Washington, D.C. in January 2023. An Uber driver carrying two passengers was hit by a drunk driver shortly after 6:00 p.m. at the intersection of Northwest and 15th Street and Massachusetts Avenue. The drunk driver, Reginald Johnson, was driving at 61 mph in a 25-mph speed zone.

Johnson consumed several alcoholic beverages at Mission Bar between the hours of 1:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. before deciding to get in his vehicle and leave. He stated that he noticed the car ahead of him, but he thought it was about to stop. As a result, he hit the gas and rear-ended the vehicle at high speeds. Several hours after the accident occurred, at 9:20 p.m., Johnson’s alcohol level was tested and showed 0.10 grams per 210 liters of breath. Under D.C. Code § 50–2206.01. you are considered intoxicated if you have an alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams per 210 liters of breath. Therefore, it was obvious that he was intoxicated at the time of the accident.

At the end of June, Johnson attended his trial in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia and pleaded guilty “to involuntary manslaughter (criminal negligence) in the death of one passenger, Carlos Christian, and assault with a deadly weapon in the injury of another passenger, Camila Selman.”

WTOP News explains that Christian and Selman were in a relationship and simply sharing an Uber to the yearly Georgetown GLOW light display when the collision occurred. They were both from the Dominican Republic but moved to Washington, D.C. after they were both accepted to the colleges of their dreams in 2022.

Unfortunately, Christian died in the crash, and Selman suffered life-threatening injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, broken pelvis, and more. She woke up in the hospital with memory issues due to her brain injury. Therefore, she could not remember what happened during the accident but was quickly informed that her partner did not survive. She has dealt with a great deal of physical and emotional pain since the accident occurred.

In November 2023, Johnson was given an eight-year prison sentence and three-year supervised probation sentence. He was previously sentenced to 12 years, but four years were suspended when the three years of supervised probation were added.

Who is liable if I am involved in an accident while riding in an Uber?

It is important to know and understand that the Uber driver is not always at fault for an Uber accident. While you may be shaken up, confused, and in pain after your accident, it is critical that you identify the correct person or party responsible for your car accident, injuries, and other losses.

You may believe that it is your driver’s responsibility to get you from point A to point B safely, which is true, but there could have been other factors or circumstances that emerged and prevented this from happening. Here are a few examples of the parties that could be found liable if you are involved in an accident while riding in an Uber:

  • Uber: Uber requires all drivers to drive safely and cautiously when carrying passengers to their destinations. Therefore, when Uber hires drivers, they make sure that they are aware of the rules they need to follow to give passengers a safe and accident-free experience. Uber can be held liable if they hire a driver with a DUI or other serious driving offenses, and that driver causes an accident while transporting passengers. The company can also be held liable if the driver has violent or criminal convictions on their record, and the driver assaults or harms a passenger in any way.
  • A driver of another vehicle: It is not uncommon for other drivers to crash into Ubers that are transporting passengers. These accidents are typically unpreventable for Uber drivers, but they can still cause severe and life-changing injuries. When this happens, it is usually the driver of the other vehicle’s fault as they acted negligently and caused the accident.
  • Manufacturer or auto mechanic: Sometimes, the Uber driver’s vehicle can have mechanical or manufacturing issues. For example, the vehicle may have faulty brakes, tire problems, or even a steering wheel issue that should have been fixed by the manufacturer or an auto mechanic. If an Uber accident occurs and it is determined that the cause was due to the manufacturer or auto mechanic’s error, they are liable for the accident, injuries, and other losses.
  • Street owner or maintenance company: Uber drivers must drive on the same roads as every other vehicle. Some roads become heavily used, causing potholes, fallen debris, and vision issues. However, it is the street owner, government, or maintenance company’s responsibility to ensure that the roadways remain clear, up to date, and safe for all users. If they fail to do so, they can be held accountable for the Uber accident.

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