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Fatal Elk Grove, CA Car Accident Results in DUI Arrest

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A November 9th car accident in the Northern California city of Elk Grove, just south of Sacramento, left one individual dead and two others seriously injured. According to California Highway Patrol investigators, at approximately 8:00 p.m. a Honda Accord driven by 33 year-old Plymouth resident, Steven Bhardwaj, ran a red light at an intersection and collided with a SUV carrying four passengers. Bhardwaj’s Accord then crashed into a signal pole. 

The front passenger traveling with Bhardwaj, a 35-year-old male from Sutter Creek, sustained serious injuries. Fire personnel arrived quickly to the scene and began administering CPR before eventually rushing the victim to a local hospital where was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. Police stated that the identity of the deceased will be released by the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office once his family is notified.

A second passenger traveling with Bhardwaj, a 51 year-old male, was seated in the rear of the vehicle and suffered major injuries. Officials state that Bhardwaj was discovered pinned in the driver’s seat due to the damages incurred by his vehicle, and also sustained serious injuries. Both men were taken to a nearby hospital and treated for said injuries, but are expected to survive. 

The four passengers traveling in the Toyota SUV, including a 43-year-old female driver from Elk Grove, sustained only minor injuries in the crash and were not taken to the hospital. 

While at the hospital, officials have indicated that Bhardwaj appeared intoxicated and they suspected he had been drinking prior to the accident. They subsequently conducted a sobriety test, which Bhardwaj reportedly failed. He was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, and causing injury and death. 

A California Highway Patrol spokesman, Officer Jim Young, stated that, “It’s pretty sad, really,” to the Sacramento Bee, adding that, “This all could have been prevented.” 

In light of the accident, the California Highway Patrol’s South Sacramento office posted a press release to their Facebook page stating, “Once again, we have another reminder of the dangers of drunk driving! DUI crashes are 100% preventable. If you drink alcohol, never get behind the wheel of a vehicle.”

The DUI charge opens Bhardwaj up to a potential wrongful death lawsuit, in addition to suits seeking personal injury damages over any requisite medical bills required for other individuals involved in the crash. Currently there is no word on whether or not the family of the deceased, or the individuals from the SUV, will proceed with filing any kind of personal injury claim.

Authorities have not released any further details at this time.