It was just past 4 a.m. on the morning of January 19th, 2013 when the lives of two men would cross paths – one would die as a result and the other’s life would be changed forever.
Jeremiah Smith, a 38 year old man from Alpine, CA, was arrested that morning on suspicion of drunk driving after his vehicle collided with another that was parked on the side of Interstate 8 in Lakeside, CA, located on the east side of San Diego County. The vehicle on the side of the road was pushed with such force by Smith’s vehicle that it struck and killed another man who was standing on the side of the road near the vehicle. The man, who was only identified as a resident of Mexicali, was thrown several hundred yards by the force of impact, reports said.
According to the victim’s wife and other eyewitnesses, the victim was following another car when one of the cars experienced mechanical trouble. The pair pulled over to the side of the road to address the mechanical issue. The victim was standing outside the vehicle, next to one of the cars in the shoulder, when Smith’s truck came barreling down. The victim was 42 years old.
There are several factors in this case that led to the death of the victim. Perhaps the greatest factor was the fact that Smith was drinking. Had he not been operating the vehicle under the influence, there is a much greater chance that he wouldn’t have collided with the vehicles in the shoulder, resulting in a terrible car accident. Unfortunately, we can’t prevent every person who drinks too much from getting behind the wheel, which is why the rest of us have to take precautions against these types of irresponsible drivers.
Don’t Be a Victim of Similar Circumstances
One precaution drivers can take against drunk drivers is to never pull over to the side of a highway or freeway. The speeds at which even sober drivers operate on highways and freeways make them a bad place to stop at any time of day and for any reason. If possible, drivers should exit the highway and get to a parking lot or gas station before turning off or exiting their vehicle.
If getting off the highway or freeway isn’t possible, operators of vehicles on the side of the road should activate their hazard lights and stay in the vehicle with the seat belts on. If anyone has to exit the vehicle for any reason, like to walk to a gas station or to walk to a public phone, the person should keep his or her eye on traffic at all times and should not exit the vehicle until traffic on the highway is clear or, as is often the case in Los Angeles, come to a complete stop. Only the person who needs to exit the vehicle should exit the vehicle. Passengers should remain in the vehicle with the hazard lights flashing and seat belts on until the person who left for help comes back with help.
Free Stranded Motorist Help in Los Angeles and Orange County
Many large cities and counties have a number that stranded motorists can call to get free non-emergency freeway assistance.
Los Angeles is one of those cities, which offers free help to stranded freeway motorists. Los Angeles Metro created the Freeway Service Patrol program to help keep the traffic moving.
Dial #399 for Metro Freeway Service Patrol (FSP)
- FSP performs free services such as:
- Changing a flat tire
- Jump-starting your vehicle
- Refilling your radiator and quick-fixing leaking hoses
- Providing you with a gallon of fuel in case you ran out
- And towing your vehicle if no quick repairs can be made
Orange County residents should dial 511 for FSP Service.
For more information, visit the Orange County Transportation Authority’s (OCTA) website.