Elderly Couple Holding Hands on a Walk Struck and Killed by Drunk Driver

Last Updated on: 4th November 2021, 02:10 pm

An elderly Valley Center couple in their late 70’s were killed early Sunday when a suspected drunken driver ran off the road and struck the couple while they were on a walk. Neighbors in the area identified the victims as Carl and Eunice Ackermann, who had a daily ritual of walking hand-in-hand in the mornings around the Valley Center community.

According to the initial findings of an ongoing California Highway Patrol investigation, the accident occurred around 6:15 a.m. when a 2011 Toyota Corolla veered off of Old Castle Road struck the pedestrian couple, a 79-year-old man and 78-year-old woman. The California Highway Patrol confirmed that Earl Smith, Jr., 20, of Oceanside, was arrested at the scene and taken to the Vista detention center where he was booked on suspicion of felony driving under the influence of alcohol and vehicular manslaughter.

Valley Center community members were in shock as they learned of the couple’s death, many noting the couple’s endearing ritual of holding hands and collecting trash during their daily walks. The California Highway Patrol and community residents also noted that this particular area of Old Castle Road was an accident hot spot, which has seen a dramatic increase in activity given the recent opening of several casinos in close proximity.


About Berman & Riedel, LLP firm managing partner attorney William M. Berman:

Attorney William M. Berman focuses his practice in the areas of catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death and elder abuse and neglect. Strictly a plaintiffs’ dedicated firm, he never represents insurance companies in the defense of claims. Mr. Berman’s firm remains staunchly committed to helping those who have suffered serious injury or loss due the negligence, intentional misconduct or wrongful acts of others.

Mr. Berman has grown his firm to what is considered one of the largest and most successful elder abuse/neglect practices within California. Through his continued successes in handling claims involving nursing home and elder abuse and neglect, Mr. Berman remains a prominent figure in advocating on behalf of this vulnerable class of citizens.

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Attorney Bill Berman

William M. Berman, Esquire
Berman & Riedel, LLP
12264 El Camino Real, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92130
ph: (858) 350-8855
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