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California Teen Driver Charged With DUI And Manslaughter After Crash Broadcast Live On Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular social media applications and currently has approximately 700 million users worldwide. The company launched a new feature called Instagram Live in late 2016 which allows users to show their followers what they are doing in real time. It is because of this feature that one California teen's DUI case is making national headlines as the 18-year old defendant was broadcasting live on Instagram before, during, and after the crash that cost her younger sister her life.

On July 21, 2017, Obdulia Sanchez was live-streaming herself on her smartphone when she lost control of the vehicle she was driving. The California Highway Patrol stated that the accident occurred after Sanchez “veered onto the right shoulder of a road . . . then over-corrected, causing the vehicle to swerve across lanes, crashes through a wire fence and overturn in a field.” In the car along with Sanchez were her 14-year old sister and another girl. Sanchez was wearing her seatbelt but the younger teens were not and Sanchez's sister was ejected from the car during the accident. The other girl was seriously injured in the incident.

Sanchez, who continued filming after the crash, was “seen leaning over the body of her sister, trying to shake her awake and saying she was sorry.”

Distracted And Under The Influence

According to CBS, “[a]n officer reported that [Sanchez] gave off a strong smell of alcohol and refused an alcohol screening, so officers obtained her medical records from the hospital where she was treated, showing she was legally drunk.” The district attorney has alleged that Sanchez's blood alcohol content was 0.10, which is over the legal limit in the state of 0.08 for adults 21 and over. However, as Sanchez is only 18, the BAC limit for someone of her age is much lower. California's Vehicle Code, section 23136(a) states:

it is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years who has a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test, to drive a vehicle

She has been charged with numerous felony counts including gross vehicular manslaughter and DUI resulting in injuries. She pleaded not guilty to all counts on July 28th.

Not The First

Sanchez is not the first person to live-stream while driving under the influence. In 2015, a Florida woman, Whitney Beall, went live on the smartphone app, Periscope, and got behind the wheel while intoxicated. NBC reported that she told those watching her that “I'm driving home drunk – let's see if I get a DUI” and “Driving drunk is not cool.” Viewers of the Beall's live-stream called 911 and informed the local police of what was going on. According to USA Today, one of the officers downloaded the app and found Beall's video. Using local landmarks, officers were able to find her vehicle and pull her over. She was charged with DUI and later pleaded no contest to the offense.

Call A Sacramento DUI Attorney

If you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with driving under the influence in the Sacramento area, you want an experienced and knowledgeable attorney on your side. Contact Underage DUI attorney John A. Campanella today for a free consultation by calling (877) DUI-JOHN or filling out an online contact form.

John Campanella

I have been representing people accused of drunk driving since I began practicing in 1995. I went to my first Sacramento DUI conference that year and listened to great DUI attorneys like Ed Kuwatch AKA, “Fast Eddie” and Lawrence Taylor who motivated me to study and practice in this area of law.

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