Like any other deadly crash, the accident that killed Rachel Morrison is a tragedy. She was alive until a La Jolla man ran a stop sign late last March, allegedly drunk. She died hours later. He pled not guilty at his arraignment in April and was taken into custody. He faces felony charges while her family and friends face a future without her.
The 27-year old victim was a Ph.D. student with a passion for marine biology. Brilliant, beautiful and beloved by those who knew her, Ms. Morrison was allegedly struck and killed by a 41-year-old drunk driver who fled after running her down. She was returning from dinner on the night she was killed. A friend walking with her was able to jump out of the car’s way and escape injury.
In accident debris at the scene, the driver left his license plate.
When he was finally located 12 miles away with a reported blood alcohol concentration (BAC) three times the legal limit of .08 percent, Christopher Stockmeyer told police officers he thought he hit something, but was not sure what it was. Mr. Stockmeyer now faces the following criminal charges:
- Driving under the influence
- Felony hit and run
- Vehicular manslaughter
In addition to the criminal case, Mr. Stockmeyer also faces civil liability. In California, survivors of those killed as a result of negligence may pursue wrongful death actions against the person or party responsible. While the financial compensation obtained in a successful legal action cannot quell the grief or fill the emptiness, it offers a measure of justice and a means to afford the undue costs associated with the death.
Rachel Morrison looked forward to living a life of adventure and discovery on the high seas — not dying on the corner of Camino Del Mar and Coast Boulevard.
When you have questions about taking legal action after the wrongful death of a loved one in San Diego or elsewhere in Southern California, consult an attorney for support and guidance.