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Dinuba Principal Kills 2, Injures 2, in DUI Accident in Reedley

DUI Accident, Reedley, CA

Two Dead, Two Injured in DUI Accident

Reedley, CA -A serene Sunday evening on a Fresno County road turned tragic in an instant, highlighting the devastating consequences of impaired driving. Near Reedley, two lives were abruptly cut short in a head-on collision, casting a somber shadow over the community and igniting a conversation about road safety and the responsibilities of drivers.

The Incident

On December 3, 2023, a serene evening on Road 56 near Avenue 430 in Fresno County was shattered by a harrowing event. At approximately 6:00 PM, a head-on collision occurred, involving a Ford F-150 and a blue Nissan SUV. The Ford, driven by 43-year-old Blake Benham, drifted across the center line into the opposing lane, initiating a catastrophic sequence of events.

In the Nissan SUV, Gloria Barajas, aged 55, and her daughter Brenda Quinonez, 35, were returning from a Christmas shopping trip. Their vehicle bore the brunt of the collision, resulting in their tragic deaths at the scene. The other two passengers, Barajas’s husband and younger daughter, Jennifer Rubio, sustained major injuries. Rubio, only 22 years old, was later reported to be in critical condition, fighting for her life in the hospital.

The driver of the Ford, Benham, who is also the principal of Kennedy Elementary School in Dinuba, suffered minor injuries. However, the repercussions of his alleged impairment at the wheel were profound. He was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and manslaughter, highlighting the severe consequences of DUI on roads and the irreversible impact on families and communities.

Legal Implications 

The tragic collision near Reedley, involving Blake Benham and resulting in the deaths of Gloria Barajas and Brenda Quinonez, brings to the forefront the severe legal consequences of driving under the influence (DUI). In California, DUI laws are strict, and when such negligence leads to fatalities, charges like vehicular manslaughter are often pursued. This case exemplifies the harsh reality that a moment of impaired judgment on the road can lead to irreversible consequences, including criminal charges and potential imprisonment.

Statistically, DUI-related accidents are a significant concern. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 28% of total traffic fatalities in the United States in recent years. In California, the impact is similarly alarming, with DUIs leading to numerous injuries and deaths annually. These statistics not only highlight the dangers of drunk driving but also underscore the need for stringent enforcement of DUI laws.

For the families of victims like Barajas and Quinonez, the legal journey can be complex and emotionally taxing. A personal injury lawyer specializing in DUI-related accidents becomes an invaluable asset in such cases. They navigate the intricacies of wrongful death claims, ensuring that the families receive fair compensation for their loss, including medical expenses, funeral costs, and damages for pain and suffering. The role of an experienced attorney is crucial in providing legal guidance and support to families during these challenging times.

The heartbreaking incident near Reedley serves as a stark reminder of the devastating impact of DUI on our roads. It underscores the importance of responsible driving and the critical role of legal intervention in the aftermath of such tragedies. In these moments, the expertise and guidance of a personal injury attorney become not just beneficial but essential. These legal professionals are equipped to handle the complexities of DUI-related cases, ensuring that victims’ families receive the justice and compensation they deserve.

At Scranton Law Firm, we understand the profound impact of losing loved ones in such sudden and tragic circumstances. With over 50 years of experience and a record of recovering over $1 billion for our clients, our team is committed to providing empathetic and effective legal representation. Our attorneys specialize in wrongful death and DUI-related accident cases, offering comprehensive support to families navigating these challenging times.

If you or someone you know has been affected by a similar incident, it’s crucial to seek professional legal assistance. The path to recovery and justice begins with a single step – reaching out to an experienced attorney. Contact the Scranton Law Firm today for a consultation, and let us help you find the way forward in your pursuit of justice and closure.


1: What should I do if I’m involved in a DUI-related accident?
Ensure your safety first and call 911. Seek medical attention, even for minor injuries. Document the scene and gather contact information of any witnesses. Then, consult a personal injury attorney to understand your legal rights and options.

2: How is liability determined in DUI-related accidents?
Liability in DUI-related accidents is primarily determined by establishing the impairment of the at-fault driver. Evidence such as police reports, breathalyzer or blood test results, and witness statements are crucial in determining liability.

3: Can family members of a deceased victim file a lawsuit in DUI-related accidents?
Yes, family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This legal action seeks compensation for their loss, including funeral expenses, lost income, and emotional distress. An experienced attorney can guide you through this process.

4: How long do I have to file a personal injury claim after a DUI accident in California?
In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including those from DUI accidents, is generally two years from the date of the accident. It’s advisable to consult an attorney as soon as possible to ensure your claim is filed timely.

5: What compensation can be recovered in a DUI accident case?
Compensation in a DUI accident case can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages, especially in cases of gross negligence. An attorney can help assess and pursue the full extent of damages owed.


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Don’t navigate the aftermath of a DUI 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 Reedley DUI 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.