Driver Sparks a Fire in Dry Los Angeles
The state of California is widely known for its beauty, beaches, and being a significant part of the entertainment industry, but it is also just as well-known for its dry weather conditions, limited water, and reoccurrences of forest fires. Due to this increased risk of fires, California residents are required more than other Americans to be aware of their activities if they have any chance of causing these potentially devastating incidents. When one finds him or herself under the influence, however, this can be difficult, especially if that someone is also behind the wheel of a car.
On August 29th, 2016, a 44-year-old Rene Ilene Hogan was driving on the highway while under the influence when she started a fire that burned across over 450 acres of grass and forest in Calaveras County, California. Hogan had been driving her 2002 Kia Ria but had not realized one of her back tires was flat, and when she continued driving, the tire thinned down to the wheel rim and caused sparks along the road. Enough of the sparks hit very dry grass nearby and set off several fires.
In no time, the Kia also caught on fire, but Hogan, not noticing, continued driving while damage to the car and risk for her life increased. Other drivers saw her car on fire and tried to alert her to no avail, but eventually, one car pulled in front of Hogan and forced her to break. The motorist and nearby residents successfully pulled Hogan from the car before the fire could cause her burns. Police officers would later charge her with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of a narcotic analgesic and cannabis as well as driving on a suspended license.
Firefighters worked for three days to try and contain the fire, which destroyed one residence and one garage and forced California Fire to order residents of the Willow Valley Subdivision to evacuate their neighborhood. Hogan is currently facing California DUI charges, but California Fire intends to file additional charges of unlawfully causing a fire that resulted in an inhabited structure to burn, seven counts of unlawfully causing a fire of a structure or forestland, and one count of committing a violation during a declared state of emergency.
For those who are facing DUI charges or other related charges, hiring an experienced attorney who specializes in DUI cases is in their best interests. These legal professionals can be an invaluable resource in maneuvering through a state’s laws and guaranteeing individuals a fair trial.