by Vickie Vértiz
Four local teens who were injured in a suspected DUI crash involving Alan Long,former mayor of Murrieta, filed a lawsuit on Monday, November 10. The suit accuses Long of negligence, according to the Orange County Register.
Long is currently working as a battalion chief for the Anaheim Fire Department. He was already facing criminal charges related to the October 16 accident, said the paper. In that separate case, Long will be arraigned on December 11 on one count of felony DUI causing injury.
Jean-Simon Serrano is the attorney for the teens and told the Register that the girls and their families are disturbed by the support Long has received from people in his community since the incident. The largest showing of support was in his reelection on November 4.
The Register quoted the Murrieta Police Department collision report, where Long told officers he had consumed about half a glass of wine at home with dinner about an hour before the 8:15 p.m. crash. Long claimed that he had only been driving 25 mph. He also accused the teen who was driving, Chloe Rogers, of slamming on the brakes for no reason, the Register quoted the report. Long also said he tried to avoid crashing into the car, but was clearly not successful.
However, Murrieta police officials concluded that the car the girls were driving was stopped before Long arrived. They were waiting to make a left turn from a southbound lane, said the paper. Long rear-ended the car after they were stopped with his full-size pickup.
The teens suffered from some critical injuries. They span in ages from 14 to 17 and, according to the Register, were taken to a hospital with injuries. One girl suffered fractures to two vertebrae in her neck, which have caused serious pain. The two teens riding in the backseat were knocked unconscious by the crash, said the police report.
The driver, Chloe who is 17, told police that her turn signal was on and that she had been stopped for about 20 seconds when the car was struck. Her sister Camille, who is 15, was also riding in the car.
The most convincing evidence, however, is coming from the crime scene, not testimony. The Register reported that officers noted in their report that there were no signs of skid marks at the crash scene.
Furthermore, Long was arrested on suspicion of DUI that night. Police said that Long showed signs of impairment and failed a field sobriety test, reported the Register.
The paper further noted that authorities said preliminary results from a breath alcohol test Long took showed a blood-alcohol level of 0.07 percent and a blood sample collected for toxicology testing later showed his blood-alcohol level was .08 percent, which is clearly over the legal limit.
The teen who suffered the greatest injury is Mellisa Reynolds, who is 16, and suffered spinal fractures in the crash. Her family told the paper she is in a lot of pain. Her grandmother, Rozette Dewart told the paper that Melissa is spending most of her time in a hospital bed in their home, which means she is not attending school like other kids.
The Register also said that the complaint does not list a damage amount and that the city is not named as a defendant.
Virginia Blumenthal, who is the attorney representing Long said she had not yet seen the lawsuit as of print time.