Distraction, Drugs and Driving Don’t Mix

Distracted driving, drugs and speed made this a fatal accident.

by David DeMullé

A tragic accident on Feb. 10 took the life of Justin Thompson, of Tujunga, when the Nissan he was riding in slammed into the back of a parked box truck at a high rate of speed. The LAFD responded and had to “crib” the vehicle in order to stabilize it enough to use the jaws of life to remove the critically injured driver. The driver was Mitchell Zaba and it is alleged that he suffered a seizure caused by drug usage.

The impact with the rear of the truck parked on Mountair was so intense that it lifted the 8,000-pound truck in the air and pushed it forward four feet onto the sidewalk. Thompson died immediately but the fire department couldn’t remove his body for nearly five hours because of how it was wedged under the truck.

“The driver of the Nissan was Mitchell Zaba and he was injured as a result of the collision. He was charged with felony DUI — driving while under the influence of drugs and causing injury or death to another person,” said LAPD Detective Bustos. Zaba was arrested at the hospital and transferred to the Los Angeles Jail.

A memorial to Thompson has been set up on Mountair

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