BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A major crash on New Year’s Eve left three dead in Northwest Bakersfield, according to police, the driver had been intoxicated before losing control of the vehicle.
The crash occurred Thursday night around 11:15 p.m., the driver was under the influence at the time, and it’s incidents like these, where organizations want to help raise awareness of drunk driving.
“We suffer a lot here in Kern County, Bakersfield area from the tragic loss of impaired driving,” said Michael Yraceburn, MADD advisory board.
Northwest Bakersfield faced that loss Thursday night after three men died due to a drunk driving incident, the driver lost control of the vehicle, crashing into a tree, ejecting three passengers from the car, leaving the driver and one other passenger with minor injuries. The vehicle was out past the stay-at-home order curfew, where it is recommended to stay indoors between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
“There are family members that never went to sleep last night, because they were getting phone calls, telling them that their loved ones were dead,” said Yraceburn.
Michael Yraceburn is a member of the advisory board for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, a national organization that spreads awareness about the dangers of impaired driving in hopes to help stop those from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
“Tragedy that could be so easily avoided, we have Uber, we have Lyft, and we all of these things available and no one has to get behind the wheel if they have been drinking or impaired by drugs, it is that simple,” said Yraceburn.
According to Yraceburn, not only are you risking lives while intoxicated behind the wheel, but you could even face fines ranging from $500 to $5,000, as well as court costs, attorney’s fees, suspension of your license, and more.
“It is very very expensive to suffer a DUI, when you could have avoided it with a $20 Uber,” said Yraceburn.
According to California Highway Patrol, in just the first six hours of their maximum enforcement period for New Years, there were 244 arrests for DUI's and 13 deaths due to crashes involving someone driving under the influence.
Yraceburn hopes that people realize they are risking more than just themselves when they get behind the wheel.
“If you’re going to have just a few drinks, what’s the risk, what is the need to jump behind the car wheel and drive? Protect yourself and protect those that you love,” said Yraceburn.
BPD also says that upon medical clearance, the driver will be put in jail for DUI and vehicular manslaughter related charges.
The crash investigation is ongoing if you have any information about it police are asking that you contact them at (661) 327-7111.