Modified: November 29, 2022

Joseph Zhou Arrested in Accident on 8 Freeway – Felony and Civil Action?

On November 20, 2022, police arrested a San Marcos man involved in a fatal DUI accident in El Centro, California, on Interstate 8. Let’s explore the details of the news with Ehline Law and our car crash personal injury attorneys.

Fatal Collision Between Kia Forte and 2022 Toyota Tacoma in El Centro Leaves One Dead and Two Injured

Joseph Zhou, a 24-year-old man, was driving his Toyota Tacoma westbound on 8 Freeway west of Mile Marker 20 at about 5:53 PM when he entered the center median.

Slowly, Joseph Zhou transitioned to the eastbound lanes of the freeway, west of Dunaway Road, where he crashed into a Kia Forte driven by a woman.

Zhou Moved to Desert Regional Medical Center after Sustaining Major Injuries

According to the California Highway Patrol, the 20-year-old woman from Rahway, New Jersey, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the accident scene, while Zhou sustained major injuries. The firefighters requested an air ambulance to move Joseph Zhou to Desert Regional Medical Center for medical treatment.

Another passenger suffered minor injuries, and the emergency crew transported them to a nearby hospital.

Zhou Charged with Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated and Felony DUI, California Highway Patrol States

Following his treatment, the police arrested Zhou for driving under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

The medical examiner’s office has not released the woman’s name in the fatal accident on Interstate 8.

Is It a Felony, Driving under the Influence, in California?

Under California law, DUI can either be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on prior DUI history. The first three DUI charges are a misdemeanor.

However, DUI is a felony if:

  • The defendant has had four DUIs in the last 10 years
  • The defendant has a previous felony DUI
  • The defendant drove under the influence, causing injury
  • The defendant was driving under the influence with a minor in the car

Joseph Zhou, arrested in accident on 8 Freeway, was charged with a felony DUI causing injury and vehicular manslaughter.

Can the Deceased Person’s Estate Pursue Compensation for the Death of Their Loved One in the El Centro DUI Accident?

Although the prosecutors will proceed with the criminal case against Zhou, the deceased person’s estate can also bring a civil action against the drunk driver to recover compensation.

Typically, the recoverable damages in a wrongful death suit include funeral and burial expenses, lost income, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering, among others.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Ehline Law

If you lost a loved one in an accident due to another’s fault, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation.

A civil action may not bring back your loved one, but it can hold the accountable party responsible and get you compensation to pay for the expenses.

Top Notch American Injury Lawyer, Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline

Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.

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