$2.5 Million Settlement in DUI Hit and Run Death of Pedestrian

The family of a 27-year-old California woman who was struck by a hit-and-run driver as she walked across a street in December 2013 will receive a $2.5 million settlement in connection with the crash. The settlement will come from the federal government because the drunken driver was at the time an aide to a California congresswoman, according to a Dec. 29 report by KSBY 6, the NBC television affiliate in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, Calif.

The settlement award was received by the family of Mallory Dies, who was 27 when she was killed as she walked across a Santa Barbara street one night with friends, the story reported. The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the federal government in connection with the crash.

Dies was struck by a vehicle that was being driven by Raymond Morua, who at the time was a 32-year-old congressional aide to Congresswoman Lois Capps of California, the story reported. Morua was sentenced in May 2014 to 20 years to life in state prison after pleading guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death, according to KSBY. Morua had two prior DUIs, the station reported.

The victim died five days after being taken off of life support following the crash, according to a Dec. 11, 2013 story in the Santa Barbara Independent newspaper. Morua was charged with murder, vehicular manslaughter, and fleeing the scene of a crime after the victim’s death. She had suffered severe head trauma in the crash, the paper reported.

The Santa Barbara Independent also reported that Morua had previously served jail time for grand theft by embezzlement after he and a co-worker were caught re-using redeemed coupons at a Kmart store. He worked as a district representative for Capps since 2011 but was fired after the DUI crash that claimed Dies’ life “According to Capps’s representatives, the office did not routinely conduct criminal background checks as part of its hiring practices, but is currently re-examining its vetting procedures,” the paper reported.

After striking Dies as she was crossing the street, “Morua stopped his car, looked back without getting out, and then drove away,” the paper reported. “A carful of witnesses followed Morua and confronted him at the dead end of Anacapa near the freeway. They tried to convince him to return to the scene, but he reportedly shook his head and again drove away.”

Morua then drove farther at a high rate of speed before losing control of his car and crashing into a palm tree, the story reported. A breathalyzer test taken at the scene registered his blood-alcohol content at 0.17, the story reported.

These kinds of tragic legal cases occur every day when innocent victims are severely hurt or killed in vehicle crashes through no fault of their own due to the actions, inattentiveness or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

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