CHP Officer Killed in DUI Crash on Christmas Eve
Andrew Camilleri, 33, a California Highway Patrol officer, was killed on the job on Christmas Eve after he was rear-ended by a suspected drunk driver. According to an NBC Los Angeles news report, the collision was first reported late Dec. 24 on Highway 880 near State Route 92 and the Winton Avenue on-ramp in Hayward. Officials say a red Cadillac driven by a 22-year-old man was going at a high rate of speed, veered into the shoulder and collided with the CHP patrol vehicle.
Killed on the Job
Camilleri and his partner, Jonathan Velasquez, were in the vehicle and were conducting DUI enforcement on Christmas Eve. Velasquez escaped with non-life-threatening injuries. CHP officials say the driver was returning home from a party and had too much to drink and “maybe too much to smoke.” He was also hospitalized with serious injuries, but is expected to face a number of felony charges once he is released.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family of Andrew Camilleri for their tragic loss on Christmas Eve. He is survived by parents, siblings, a wife and three children, ages 12 6 and 2 who were waiting for dad to come home and open presents on Christmas morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with this family for their terrible loss.
Holiday DUI Arrests and Deaths
The holidays – the period between Christmas and New Year – is a notorious time for drunk driving. Officers like Camilleri made hundreds of DUI arrests over the holiday weekend. According to CHP, between 6 p.m. Friday and 11:59 p.m. on Christmas Eve, CHP officers arrested 790 people and by the time maximum enforcement ended at 11:59 p.m. Christmas Day, 917 people were arrested.
Last year during the Christmas maximum enforcement period, 621 people were arrested. This year, during the holiday weekend, 27 people died on California’s roads, which is down from last year when 36 people died in crashes. CHP said half the people killed in the agency’s jurisdiction were not wearing seat belts.
Justice for Victims
In such cases, in addition to facing criminal charges, DUI drivers can also be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses they cause. Families of deceased DUI victims can file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for damages including medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, pain and suffering and loss of love, care and companionship. Victims and families would be well advised to seek the counsel of an experienced California personal injury lawyer who has a successful track record of financially pursuing DUI drivers.