On Sunday, September 22, 2014, just after midnight, a motorcyclist was involved in a traffic collision on Southbound I-5 in the City of Santa Ana. A good Samaritan saw the motorcyclist injured on the side of the road and stopped to render aid and contact 911. As the good Samaritan attempted to help the injured motorcyclist, 41 year-old Jesus Mendoza Hernandez was driving drunk and struck both men with his vehicle as they waited for help. Both men were seriously injured and transported to a local Orange County hospital as a result of their injuries.
The motorcycle rider died later that morning due to his injuries. The good Samaritan’s injuries are described as “moderate to severe” and he continues to recover. The drunk driver was arrested at the scene of the collision for driving under the influence but was not injured in the collision.
This good Samaritan deserves to be applauded for his selfless act. This man placed his own life at risk in order to try to assist a stranger in need. This collision still resulted in the tragic loss of the life of the motorcycle rider, but that shouldn’t take away from the selfless act of courage that was shown by this good Samaritan.
The family of the motorcycle rider will have a right to pursue a civil wrongful death claim against the drunk driver in Orange County Superior Court. The good Samaritan also will have a right to file a civil negligence claim against the drunk driver. Both can seek punitive damages since the driver was under the influence at the time of the collision. These civil remedies are in addition to the likely criminal consequences that will be brought by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.