Update: Shelby Niemela, Passenger From Rest Area Crash Dies

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As a Seattle wrongful death lawyer working at a Kent personal injury law firm I think that it is part of my job to bring you stories about auto accidents that could have been avoided. Last week we told you about 20-year-old Shelby Niemela, who was critically injured in an auto accident when the truck that she was a passenger in crashed through a fence and smashed into a semi-truck that was parked at the Indian John Hill Rest Area. After the accident, Niemela had to be airlifted to Harborview Medical Center because she sustained massive head and internal injuries. Sadly, doctors were unable to stabilize Niemela after suffering personal injuries that serious and Shelby passed away on Friday, June 17.

22-year-old Gregory Karlin was the driver of the vehicle that Shelby was riding in and was intoxicated when he drove off the road while traveling west on I-90. Charges are pending for Karlin, but I can only hope that they are sufficient enough to make him understand that his bad decision took away a life. Karlin was fortunate enough to have only sustained minor facial lacerations and even if he has scars for the rest of his life, his pain will be nothing compared with the devastation felt by the friends and family of Shelby.

In 2009 drinking and driving killed over 200 people in Washington State alone and the number nationwide is astronomical. The Washington State Patrol recently adopted a new program called Target Zero which they have implemented to work towards lowering the amount of DUI and alcohol-related accidents to zero by the year 2030. Drinking and driving doesn’t just endanger the life of the person driving, so many more people are at risk of suffering personal injuries or even having to deal with the wrongful death of a loved one when you get behind the wheel intoxicated.