Tuesday, December 15, 2009

LAPD Officer in Fatal DUI Motorcycle Crash

After 19 years in the Los Angeles Police Department, Officer Kenneth Aragon lost his life in a single-vehicle crash while riding his motorcycle home last December 3, 2009. He was taken to Glendale Memorial Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries, leaving behind five children.

An investigation on the cause of the crash however, revealed that the 47-year old police officer had drunk so much right before the accident that his blood-alcohol level was well over the legal limit of .08 percent.

According to the authorities, 90 minutes before the fatal motorcycle crash, Officer Aragon had been drinking at the bar on the department's training academy campus.

The academy bar is usually the go-to place for police officers to gather, drink and celebrate occasions such as “payday Wednesday.” Aragon allegedly spent several hours drinking and singing karaoke with other officers and guests at the bar.

Aside from the laws in California which prohibit operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and driving with a BAC of .08 or higher, it is a misdemeanor in California to serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated.

Drunk motorcycle drivers also have the highest risk of fatality compared to other drivers.

In 2008 alone, 30 percent of all fatally injured motorcycle drivers had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08 percent and single-vehicle crash fatalities who were DUI was at 43 percent.

Also, more than half of all motorcycle nighttime fatalities, as much as 58 percent had BACs at or above 0.08 percent.

While it is indeed a tragedy that Officer Aragon had to leave his family behind, his death could have easily been avoided had he simply followed the law he was sworn to protect and uphold.

Driving under the influence is already a risk, even if the driver is riding in a Hummer or a Benz. But DUI while riding a motorcycle, more often than not, is a fatal destination.