Carlsbad, CA- Police suspect the 17 year-old girl, who struck a 20 year-old man as he was skateboarding in Carlsbad Wednesday night, was on drugs and alcohol at the time of the accident.
Authorities say Vinnie Zellefrow was skateboarding on Carlsbad Blvd. around 10:50 p.m. with a group of his friends when has was struck by a vehicle near the 600 block of the boulevard. Zellefrow was knocked 100 feet from the point of impact and suffered blunt force trauma to the head. He was pronounced dead on the scene just 15 minutes after the accident.
“The victim was located in the roadway along southbound Carlsbad Boulevard, just north of Island Way, where he eventually succumbed to his injuries after life-saving measures were attempted,” Carlsbad police Lt. Pete Pascual said in a statement, according to the Carlsbad Patch.
The driver who struck Zellefrow sped away from the scene in a silver Chrysler at a high rate of speed according to witnesses at the scene. Police were able to locate the vehicle and the driver. The arrested a 17 year-old girl whose identity has not been release because she is a minor.
Belinda Zellefrow, Vinnie’s mother, said the young men her son was skateboarding with warned him the car was coming, and he tried to get out of the way, but he couldn’t.
“He did (move over) as far as he could, past the shoulder,” Belinda said. “And the person that hit him scooted over with him and hit him and left.”
The teen driver has been charged with vehicular manslaughter, felony DUI and felony hit and run. She is currently being held at the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is dangerous for anybody, but is especially dangerous when the driver is teen. According to the CDC, in 2010, 22 percent of teen drivers who were involved in traffic accidents were drinking prior to their arrest. In the U.S. drugs or alcohol contribute to close to a one-third of all fatal collisions.
Driving is a skill that is developed over time. Teen drivers are less-experienced than adult drivers and when drugs and alcohol are added to the mix, catastrophe can ensue, as this accident demonstrates.
California, like many states, has a zero tolerance policy towards teens that drink and drive. A simple DUI that doesn’t involve a personal injury can have severe consequences including costly penalties, loss of driving privileges and community service. Fleeing the scene of an accident will only make matters worse for the offender.
But the consequences for causing injury or death are much harsher, and the alleged offender must hire a DUI lawyer to help them build a strong defense. With a strong DUI defense it is possible for the offender to reduce the some of their resulting penalties and maybe avoid a lengthy jail sentence.
A DUI conviction can be difficult to avoid unless you have the backing of an accomplished DUI attorney, it’s not wise to try and take these charges on without legal help.