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The former mayor of a Southern California city is being sued for an alleged DUI crash that injured four high school cheerleaders.
Alan Long was still mayor of Murrieta when the accident occurred last month, reports KTLA-TV. Though he stepped down following the crash and his arrest for felony DUI at the scene, he was subsequently re-elected to a second term on the Murrieta City Council in the November election.
In addition to being charged with DUI, Long is now facing potential civil liability for the injuries sustained by the four high school cheerleaders in the car Long allegedly crashed into while intoxicated.
Arrested for DUI Following Accident
The accident in question occurred October 16. The cheerleaders, ranging in age from 14 to 17, were injured when Long's pickup truck collided with the car in which they were riding. Long, who is also a battalion chief at the Anaheim Fire Department, was arrested at the scene for DUI after his blood alcohol concentration was tested at .08 percent, the legal limit in California.
Long is scheduled to be arraigned on the criminal charge of driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury, a felony, on December 11. In the meantime, the girls injured in the crash have filed a negligence lawsuit against Long.
Effect of Criminal Charges on Negligence Lawsuit
Although criminal and civil proceedings are conducted separately, a conviction in criminal court can have a significant effect on a civil lawsuit. In lawsuits alleging negligence, a conviction on criminal charges relating to the cause of an accident may be used to prove fault during the civil trial, as the standard of proof required for a criminal conviction is greater than that required in a civil case.
A criminal conviction may also lead to a finding of negligence per se, in which proof that a defendant was in violation of a statute causing the type of harm the statute was intended to prevent can be used to prove the defendant's negligence.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of the cheerleaders seeks unspecified damages for the "severe personal injuries" suffered by the four girls. Long had previously offered a public apology to the girls through his lawyer while denying that he was driving over the legal limit at the time of the accident, reports the Los Angeles Times.