A Southern California man has posted one of the most poignant yet distressing social media feeds I have seen. In a Facebook picture, Zach Kincaid is standing over a coffin, his young child looking on. Inside the coffin is his 29-year-old wife, her unborn child in her arms. In another photo, Mr. Kincaid is holding his dead unborn daughter, who was only a month away from her anticipated birth date.
On September 9 Mr. Kincaid was speaking with his wife on her cell phone speaker as she was driving on Warren Road in Riverside County when he heard her scream, then he heard a collision. A drunk driver, pro boxing champion, Marcos Forestal-Coutin, was allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol as his speeding car veered into the wrong lane, hitting Mr. Kincaid’s wife’s vehicle head on. In what must be one of the most egregiously arrogant statements, Forestal-Coutin claimed Mrs. Kincaid’s vehicle “appeared” in front of him and then went on to complain about the damage done to his vehicle. Forestal even livestreamed a video of the crash scene.
The social media photos are very disturbing and hopefully will impress the many thousands who have seen them. Drunken driving can kill, and these photos make that lasting impression. There is really no excuse to drive drunk. Unfortunately, a brain affected by alcohol makes poor decisions.
As for Forestal, he is facing a gross vehicular manslaughtercharge. Gross vehicular manslaughter does not impute intent to the offense, only gross negligence. In other words, the charge does not consider the crime premeditated. The charge carries a maximum 10-year sentence. (This is not always the case if the driver had a previous DUI. Drivers with prior DUIs may be charged with 2nddegree murderif they kill another person when driving under the influence.) Mr. Kincaid does not consider a maximum 10 years sentence to be justice for his wife and unborn baby. He asks whether a person who chooses to drive under the influence intended to do. Perhaps, but the law is very specific on intent; the driver did not intend to kill someone by his choice to drive drunk.
Increased awareness and social pressure since the early 1980’shave resulted in progressively more severe DUI laws. This incident and others like it, especially when broadcast to a wide audience over social media, is putting pressure on our lawmakers to enact even stronger laws.
While the community may have little patience or sympathy for a person charged with vehicular manslaughter, I know that it is often more nuanced than what is understood by the mind of the crowd. A person walking into my office who has been charged with this crime needs a skilled and vigorous defense. There are viable defenses that often turn up once discovery and an investigation take place. I see each of my clients as an individual and each charged offense with its own unique circumstances.
Orange County DUI defense attorney William Weinberg has 25 years’ experience defending drivers accused of DUI and related offenses including gross vehicular manslaughter and 2nddegree murder. If you have been charged with DUI or a more serious DUI charge, don’t delay seeking defense counsel. Contact Mr. Weinberg at his Irvine office at (949) 474-8008 or email him at email@example.com schedule a complimentary consultation regarding your matter.