A driver who drove the wrong way on the Long Beach Freeway, causing a fatal accident last Friday was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter, felony drunk driving and hit-and-run on Tuesday. He was ordered held in lieu of $230,000 bail.
The multi-vehicle accident happened on November 2nd at about 10 p.m. Derrick Armstrong, a 33-year-old Buena Park man, was driving a white 1997 Chevy Tahoe. Armstrong entered the 710 freeway the wrong way at the Broadway off-ramp. He traveled north in the southbound lanes. Armstrong's truck slammed into a gray 1987 Honda Accord and a white 2010 Toyota Corolla.
A passenger in the Honda, 27-year-old Trisha Esmond Cade, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Authorities had to extricate the driver of the Honda, 26-year-old Heather Dean, a Long Beach resident, from the wreckage. Dean was transported to St. Mary Medical Center, where she remains in the intensive care unit with critical injuries. According to Dean's mother Lisa Duarte, Dean suffered multiple broken bones and lacerations and has developed pneumonia.
The Toyota's driver, a male 26-year-old Long Beach resident, was also transported to a local hospital for treatment.
According to witness reports, after the crash, Armstrong ran from his Tahoe. Witnesses chased the wrong-way driver and held him until police arrived. Police are asking anyone with information about the accident to contact Accident Investigations Detective David Lauro of the Long Beach Police Department.
In this situation, if Armstrong had auto insurance that was in effect at the time of the accident, his insurance company will likely tender the policy limit to the three accident victims. Armstrong's per person policy limit will be tendered to the family of the passenger who was killed. The balance of Armstrong's policy will be tendered to the other two injury victims. If the Honda was covered under an auto insurance policy whose limits exceeded Armstrong's limits, then the decedent's family will also be able to make a claim on that policy. Additionally, if the decedent was covered under another auto insurance policy whose limits exceeded Armstrong's limits, the decedent's family may also be able to make a claim on that policy.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a drunk driver's negligence, a hit-and-run driver, or a freeway accident and have questions about your right to recover money, contact a Long Beach personal injury lawyer at McGee, Lerer & Associates. You should not speak to an insurance adjuster before first speaking to an attorney.
McGee and Catherine Lerer are a husband and wife team of accident attorneys with over 37 years of combined experience representing accident victims and their families. We are available 24/7 for a free consultation. If you retain our firm, there are no up-front costs. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no fee unless we collect money for you.