Georgia Firefighter, Ron Herens, was killed on May 1, 2017, and his two companions were hurt while on vacation in Los Angeles. Suspect Benjamin Seider was driving while under the influence of alcohol when he ran a red light at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Ocean Avenue in Venice, crashing into Herens’ vehicle. The force propelled Herens from the car and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The other two passengers in Herens’ vehicle suffered serious injuries.
Benjamin Seider has since been charged with three felony counts of vehicular manslaughter including driving while under the influence of alcohol, driving while intoxicated and causing injury, and driving with a 0.08% blood alcohol content and causing injury.
California Penal Code 191.5 (b) states that the crime of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated occurs when:
- A person is driving while intoxicated and engages in some additional negligent behavior while driving, and
- As a result, another person is killed. If charged as a felony, a person who is convicted can face up to 4 years in prison, along with suspension of their driver’s license. The additional negligent behavior does not need to be inherently dangerous, just dangerous under the circumstances, or ordinary negligence. Ordinary negligence means that you did not use reasonable care to prevent reasonably foreseeable harm to someone else.
- In California Vehicle Code (“VC”) 23153 is defined as driving while intoxicated and injuring another person. In order to be convicted of violating VC 23153, the prosecutor must prove that:
- You were driving under the influence,
- You violated another law or drove negligently, and
- Your unlawful act or negligence caused injury to another person.
This can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. Because Seider is charged with a felony he could face up to 4 years in prison, with an added sentence of up to 6 years if any victims suffered serious bodily injuries (and an additional 1 year sentence for each person that suffers any injury). He could also be charged up to $5,000 in fines, 18 or 30 months of a court approved DUI class, Habitual Traffic Offender status for three years, and a 5 year revocation of his license. Seider may also end up with “strike” on his record if anybody other than himself suffered serious bodily injury.
In California, VC 23152 (b) makes it illegal for a person to drive with a blood alcohol content over 0.08% by weight. In order to convict someone of this crime, the prosecutor must prove that:
- The suspect’s BAC was at 0.08% or higher and
- He/She drove a vehicle at the time they were intoxicated
Seider is facing some serious charges and if he is convicted of all charges, he could face more than 12 years in State prison. If you have been charged with a DUI and/or Vehicular Manslaughter you can contact us by phone at (310) 448-1529 or contact us online for a consultation. We promptly return phone calls and emails. Our office is conveniently located in the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, within minutes of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy Station. We have flexible and weekend office hours, and we will visit you in jail to discuss your case.