City employee accused of causing San Luis, Arizona bicycle accident while driving drunk

Authorities are reviewing city procedures after a 10-year-old boy was injured in a San Luis, Arizona bicycle accident by an employee who was allegedly driving drunk in a city vehicle, the Yuma Sun reported.

The boy was riding his bike near a Walmart store on May 27 when he was struck by the city vehicle, according to the San Luis police chief. The defendant is charged with driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident. He has since resigned from his job with the city. The victim, a student at Harvest Preparatory Academy, suffered a broken pelvis, femur and shoulder in the accident.

“The employee was on duty and broke the rule,” city spokeswoman Karin Meza said. “The idea is see what improvements can be made to the procedures to avoid risks” of similar incidents occurring in the future. “We don’t know if supervision was lacking or if the rules need to be strengthened.”

Channel 13 reported that the accident happened shortly after 7 p.m. as the city worker was traveling west on Los Olivos Avenue. He struck the boy at the corner of Bernal Drive. Witnesses say he initially got out of his vehicle and attempted to help the boy. But, after seeing the witnesses, he climbed back in his city-issued Ford Ranger and left the area.

A police report indicated two beer containers were found in the city vehicle and a pair of breathalyzer tests showed the employee’s blood-alcohol level was over the legal limit.

As we reported on our Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, safety advocates are pushing to reduce the number of serious and fatal Arizona bicycle accidents. Nineteen cyclists were killed in Arizona accidents in 2008 and 1,682 were injured according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Drunk driving accidents continue to be a leading cause of traffic fatalities nationwide, accounting for about one-third of all deadly crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nationwide, 11,773 people died in alcohol-related crashes in 2008 — or one person every 45 minutes.

In Arizona, 343 of the state’s 937 fatal crashes involved alcohol.