According to police reports, Satnam Singh had a blood-alcohol concentration on .39 percent when he struck a cyclist in Ventura, California, according to the Ventura County Star. Singh struck 20-year-old cyclist Nick Haverland with his Hummer SUV on May 11, 2011, killing him instantly.
Singh was almost 5 times over the legal limit at the time of the accident. Marc Biederman, Singh’s attorney, argued that the prosecution should drop the second-degree murder charges because his client was too drunk to have intentionally disregarded human life.
“The degree of intoxication was so high it would have rendered him incapable to entertain any kind of implied malice,” said Biederman. Before striking Haverland, Singh had already knocked over two other cyclists and rear-ended a car. Judge Charles Campbell was not buying into that logic and refused to dismiss the murder charge.
“And then he hits this boy on a bicycle completely without any regard for the safety of these people,” said Campbell. “I mean, he should have stopped the first time. And then he continues to flee, which leads me to think that he knew what he had done and was attempting to escape.”
Witnesses claim the SUV did not slow down even after knocking over the cyclists.
“He just had a blank stare on his face,” said Ventura Police Officer Scott Garret, who used a police dog to remove Singh from his Hummer. Los Angeles forensic alcohol expert Okoire Okorocha was amazed that Singh could function on any level with a BAC of that level. The majority of people die when it reaches .25 to .32. Unfortunately for Singh, being the drunkest functioning person in California is not an excuse for homicide.
Have you or a loved one been injured or killed in a bicycle accident? Do you think the driver displaying such disregard for human life that it justifies the murder charge?
Dudek Law Firm, APC—San Diego wrongful death attorney.