At about 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 3, a hit-and-run driver struck a group of pedestrians on the Venice Beach boardwalk; 32-year-old Alice Gruppioni, of Italy, was killed and eleven others were injured. Authorities indicated that 38-year-old Nathan Louis Campbell entered Ocean Front Walk by maneuvering his blue sedan past five narrow concrete pylons meant to block cars from the boardwalk. According to witnesses, he then reached speeds of near 60 mph, intentionally hitting pedestrians. One woman sustained major trauma, and four other pedestrians suffered minor injuries; all were receiving treatment at UCLA Medical Center. Christian Gruppioni, the husband of the woman who was killed, and the other victims suffered minor injuries and were treated at area hospitals. Campbell initially fled the scene but later turned himself into police and was arrested on suspicion of murder.
“When a driver intentionally harms others, he may face criminal charges from the state and civil actions from the victims or their surviving family members,” explained California injury lawyer James Ballidis.
In California, the criminal justice system provides the state with a means of punishing individuals for violating its laws. Those who were injured or lost loved ones as a result of the individual’s actions often serve as witnesses for the prosecution. The civil justice system allows the victims to hold the individual liable for any injury or loss his or her actions caused and to seek compensatory damages. While the criminal justice system holds the defendant accountable for crimes against the state, the civil justice system holds the defendant accountable to the victims.