DANA POINT (AP) — An Orange County man recently released from rehab after three drunken driving convictions died when authorities say a 19-year-old man who had been drinking struck him, a newspaper reported.
Haitham Gamal, 38, was bicycling in Dana Point when a 2001 Acura hit him on April 29, the Orange County Register reported Friday.
Gamal was pronounced dead at the scene. The crash occurred a day after Gamal pleaded guilty to a January 2013 DUI in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana.
His lawyer, Walter Cole, says Gamal was on the “road to recovery” after a history of DUI arrests. He had recently completed an intensive rehabilitation program.
“He was doing the right thing, and somebody hit him that had been drinking,” Cole told the newspaper.
Authorities have not released the name of the driver.
Detectives are awaiting blood-test results before they send their investigation to prosecutors for possible criminal charges, said Lt. Jeff Hallock, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
The Acura flipped on its top after hitting Gamal, and the driver and his 18-year-old passenger were treated for moderate injuries at a hospital.
Cole said Gamal leaves behind a wife and young children.
He was sentenced the day before he died to five years of probation and 45 days in jail. He was going to serve 20 days in jail and then 45 days of home confinement. Cole said Gamal didn’t have to report to jail for a couple of months.
Gamal pleaded guilty to DUI in 2005 and in 2009 — the latter conviction getting him three years of probation. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor public intoxication in 2012 and then was arrested on his third DUI about a month later.