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25-Year-Old DUI Driver Kills a Pedestrian on Hwy 101 in San Jose

Fatal Pedestrian Accident, San Jose, CA

25-Year-Old DUI Driver Kills a Pedestrian, with a Toddler in the Car, on Highway 101

San Jose, CA -In the quiet of the night, a tragedy unfolded on Highway 101 in San Jose, casting a somber shadow over the community. A pedestrian’s life was cut short in an instant, marking a moment of loss and reflection for all who traverse these busy roads. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the fragility of life and the paramount importance of responsible driving.

The Incident

On the evening of March 19, 2024, a distressing event occurred on northbound U.S. Highway 101 in San Jose, near McKee Road, that would end in tragedy. Justine Rivas, a 25-year-old resident of San Jose, was behind the wheel of a 2011 Toyota Camry, traveling with a 3-year-old boy in the vehicle. In a catastrophic turn of events, Rivas’s vehicle collided with an elderly pedestrian, who was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) responded to the incident around 9:15 p.m., following reports of the collision. Preliminary investigations suggested that Rivas was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident. She was subsequently arrested and is being held at the Santa Clara County jail on suspicion of DUI, with bail set at $175,000.

This incident not only resulted in the loss of a life but also highlighted the dangers of impaired driving. The presence of a young child in the car added a layer of gravity to the already dire situation, underscoring the potential for even greater tragedy.

Legal Implications 

The tragic accident on Highway 101 in San Jose, where a pedestrian lost his life to a vehicle driven by an allegedly intoxicated driver, underscores a grim reality on California’s roads. Driving under the influence (DUI) remains a significant cause of fatal accidents, despite stringent laws and penalties designed to deter such behavior. In this case, the involvement of a DUI suspect, who was also responsible for a toddler at the time, adds layers of legal complexity and moral outrage to the tragedy.

Statistically, DUI-related crashes constitute a substantial portion of traffic fatalities nationwide. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 30% of all traffic-related deaths in the United States involve drunk drivers. In California alone, hundreds of lives are lost each year to accidents caused by drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs.

The legal ramifications for DUI in California are severe, especially when an accident results in injury or death. Convicted drivers face long-term consequences, including imprisonment, hefty fines, license suspension, and mandatory DUI education programs. Furthermore, the incident highlights the potential for wrongful death claims filed by the victim’s family, seeking compensation for their loss, pain, and suffering.

The heart-wrenching incident on Highway 101 in San Jose serves as a somber reminder of the devastating consequences of driving under the influence. It not only ended a life prematurely but also left a community in mourning and a family grappling with an irreplaceable loss. This tragedy underscores the critical importance of responsible driving and the need for legal accountability in the aftermath of such incidents.

At Scranton Law Firm, we are deeply committed to advocating for the victims of DUI accidents and their families. With over 50 years of experience and a track record of recovering over $1 billion for our clients, our team possesses the expertise, empathy, and dedication required to navigate the complex legal landscape of personal injury and wrongful death claims.

If you or someone you love has been affected by a DUI accident, it is crucial to seek professional legal guidance. Our skilled wrongful death attorneys can help you understand your rights, explore your options for seeking justice and compensation, and provide the support you need during this challenging time.

Do not face this journey alone. Contact Scranton Law Firm today for a free consultation. Let our experience, compassion, and commitment to justice be your strength. Together, we can fight for the accountability and compensation you deserve, helping you move forward with dignity and hope.


  1. What should I do if I’m involved in a DUI accident? Immediately after the accident, ensure your safety and call 911. Seek medical attention even if you don’t feel injured, as some injuries may not be immediately apparent. Document the scene with photos and gather contact information from witnesses. Then, consult with a personal injury attorney to explore your legal options.

  2. Can a pedestrian file a lawsuit after being hit by a DUI driver? Yes, pedestrians hit by DUI drivers have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. This lawsuit can seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the accident.

  3. What are the penalties for DUI in California? Penalties for DUI in California can include jail time, fines, mandatory DUI education programs, and suspension of the driver’s license. The severity of the penalties increases with any prior DUI convictions and if the DUI resulted in an accident causing injury or death.

  4. How can a personal injury attorney help in a DUI accident case? A personal injury attorney can help by investigating the accident, gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing the victim in court if necessary. Their goal is to ensure that the victim receives full compensation for their injuries and losses.

  5. What compensation can victims of DUI accidents receive? Victims of DUI accidents may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and punitive damages in some cases. An experienced personal injury attorney can assess the specifics of the case to determine the full extent of compensable damages.


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Don’t navigate the aftermath of a pedestrian accident alone. Let the Scranton Law Firm stand by your side. With over 50 years of experience as personal injury lawyers, we’ve helped thousands recover from their losses. If you or a loved one are affected by a San Jose pedestrian accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Secure your rights and seek the justice you deserve. Call us now for a free consultation – The Scranton Law Firm, your trusted ally in these challenging times. Call 800-707-0707 now.