August 2008 Archives

August 30, 2008

15-Passenger Van Accident In Boston Injures 13

Thirteen people in Chelsea, Mass, suffered injuries after the 15 passenger van they were in struck a toll plaza on the Tobin Bridge. According to an Aug. 29 news report in WHDH-TV, the van driver said his brakes failed and he lost control of the vehicle when the 15 passenger van crash occurred.

All 13 passengers in the van were injured and were taken to area hospitals. The extent of their injuries is not known. There are signs on the Tobin Bridge cautioning vehicles approaching the toll plaza to slow down, but the van’s driver said he was not able to do that because his brakes failed.

This news report does not have much information about the nature of the injuries suffered by the victims of this auto crash, but the fact they were all taken to area hospitals suggests that they must have suffered some type of injury. We do know 15-passenger vans are probably the deadliest and most dangerous vehicles on our roadways today.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has consistently issued several alerts over the years warning consumers about the dangers of these vans. Here is a comprehensive Web site, which talks about those hazards. The federal agency’s statistics also show that between the years 1990 and 2000 – more than 1,200 fatal 15-passenger van accidents have occurred. During that period, 860 people died in these van accidents and a little over 420 of those fatalities occurred from single vehicle rollover accidents.

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August 28, 2008

Chevrolet Blazer Rollover Accident In San Diego Leaves One Dead

Joseph Isaiah Rojas, 17, a senior at Mount Miguel High School in Spring Valley, San Diego, died in a Chevrolet Blazer rollover accident on the Interstate 8, according to a news report in the San Diego Union-Tribune. The Blazer’s driver, Jessica Perdomo, 35, suffered major injuries in the collision. Four other people in different vehicles were also treated for moderate or minor injuries.

The SUV Rollover accident reportedly occurred after the Blazer struck a Honda sedan that had flipped over the median and landed in front of oncoming traffic. The Blazer rolled over six times. California Highway Patrol officials say the 21-year-old driver of the Honda could face vehicular manslaughter charges and speeding. CHP officers say the driver of the Honda was doing 75 to 80 mph on the eastbound lane of the I-80 and ended up losing control of the vehicle.

Let’s keep Joseph Isaiah Rojas in our prayers and send our best wishes to the injured victims and surviving family members.

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August 27, 2008

Costa Mesa Man Dies in Altadena Motorcycle Accident

David Church Deane, 28, of Costa Mesa, who worked as a production assistant on the “Judge Judy” show was killed in a head-on motorcycle accident when he collided with a pickup truck on the Angeles Crest Highway, according to a CBS News report. The motorcycle accident occurred Aug. 21 at 11:50 a.m.

California Highway Patrol officials say initial reports place the blame squarely on Deane who they say was speeding and then crossed over double yellow lines and struck a 2006 Dodge Ram pick-up truck. Deane was traveling eastbound and was rounding a curve at a high rate of speed when the head-on collision occurred, CHP officials say. Deane was thrown to the side of the road and the motorcycle ended up wedged under the truck. He was reportedly pronounced dead at the scene.

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August 26, 2008

Las Vegas Bicycle Accident Leaves Teenager Dead

Keanu Irvine Lee Davila, 16, of North Las Vegas, died in a fatal bicycle accident Aug. 20. According to an article in the Las Vegas Sun, Keanu was struck by a car near Alexander Road and Coleman Street as he was riding his bicycle. He was taken to an area hospital, where he later died.

North Las Vegas Police, who are investigating this bicycle accident, are saying that the teenager was riding his bike close to the curb when the driver of a silver Honda Civic pulled to the right and hit him from behind. Keanu landed on the hood of the car, his head striking the windshield. He was carried another 40 feet on the car’s hood before falling on the street.

Please keep Keanu’s family in your thoughts and prayers. I am deeply sorry for their loss.

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August 25, 2008

Malibu Auto Accident Critically Injures Hollywood Talent Manager

Joan Hyler, a prominent talent manager in Hollywood who has represented celebrities such as Madonna, Bob Dylan and Andy Warhol, was critically injured in a Malibu pedestrian accident. According to this KNBC news report, Hyler was hit by a passing car as she was parking her vehicle on Pacific Coast Highway. She is said to be in critical condition.

According to the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), in Malibu alone, there were a total of 125 injury traffic accidents in 2006, three of those fatal accidents.

There is not much information with regard to this Malibu auto accident. There is any number of ways this accident could have happened. It could have been an impaired driver at the wheel who was driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The driver of the vehicle that hit Hyler may have been distracted. He or she may have just been careless or negligent and missed seeing Hyler.

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August 24, 2008

Long Beach Rollover Accident Claims Teenager’s Life

Tyler Wilkinson, 17, of Long Beach died in a fatal Santa Clara County rollover accident after the Jeep Wrangler he was riding in crashed into a vehicle trying to merge onto Highway 152 near Dunne Street. According to this news report, the auto accident occurred when 28-year-old Erika Neves of San Jose merged onto the freeway from the shoulder where she had parked.

The driver of the 2008 Jeep Wrangler tried to avoid Neves’ 2005 Mazda sedan, but ended up striking the back of the Mazda, which spun around and came to rest on the right shoulder. The Jeep continued up the freeway shoulder and up an embankment before rolling over and landing on its wheels. Tyler, who was the right front passenger, was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Jeep was an unidentified juvenile and was uninjured. The driver’s father, 60-year-old Manual Madula, who was also a passenger in the Jeep, suffered head and chest injuries. Neves suffered minor cuts to her face and arm.

My heart goes out to the family of the teenager, Tyler Wilkinson. I offer my condolences to the family for their terrible loss.

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August 23, 2008

Orange County Motorcycle Accident Claims Man’s Life

Timothy Douglas Curl, 43, of Temecula died in a motorcycle accident in San Clemente Aug. 19, according to an article in The Orange County Register. Curl was riding a 2006 Yamaha motorcycle south on El Camino Real when he lost control of the bike, according to Lr. Hal Brotheim of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. He was wearing a helmet, but died of injuries after he was thrown from his motorcycle and hit the curb.

I offer my condolences to Curl’s family. It’s too early to tell what caused this single-vehicle accident. According to a report by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2005. there were a total of 4,553 motorcycle accident deaths of which 2,021 or 44 percent were single vehicle crashes. The same report also states that the number of single vehicle crash increased by 58 percent between 2001 and 2005.

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August 22, 2008

Fatal Orange County Big Rig Accident Results In Guilty Manslaughter Plea

A truck driver whose loaded big rig slammed into the back of a minivan on Interstate 5 in Mission Viejo, killing three young siblings from Ladera Ranch, pleaded no contest to three counts of vehicular manslaughter Aug. 22, according to this NBC News report. The Mission Viejo big rig accident occurred on May 4, 2007, when Kyle Coble, 5, and his sisters Emma, 4, and Katie, 2 were killed.

Prosecutors said Jorge Miguel Romero, 38, of Apple Valley, was inattentive, not keeping enough distance between his truck and stopped traffic and hitting the brakes too late to stop. All these amounted to criminal negligence. Romero is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 14 at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach. He could be sentenced up to three years in prison.

A recent investigation by the Register last month revealed that the trucking company Romero was working for, KW Express, itself had 15 safety violations that surfaced during federal and state inspections. Let’s look at some of these violations. Drivers were allowed to work before they completed pre-employment drug screening. Drivers’ time cards were falsified. Vehicle maintenance records were not kept. And a company spokesman was quoted in the newspaper saying it was all a result of “innocent ignorance.” If the Cobles are represented in a civil trial by one of Orange County’s best personal injury attorneys, those violations won’t look so innocent to an Orange County jury.

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August 21, 2008

California Auto Accident Deaths Decline

Fewer people nationwide and in California are dying in auto accidents, according to a news report in the Riverside Press-Enterprise. According to this article, which examines an interesting trend in auto accidents, fatalities in auto accidents have dropped nationwide by 3.9 percent from 2006 to 2007. In California, there has been a 6.3 percent drop in roadway fatalities while in New York there has been an 8.3 percent decrease in auto accident-related deaths.

The only area where there has been an increase in fatalities is motorcycle accidents, which have increased nationwide from, 4,837 deaths in 2006 to 5,154 in 2007 – a 6.6 percent increase. This rise in motorcycle accident fatalities has been attributed to an increase in the number of riders.

This is no doubt a promising trend, which officials are attributing to a variety of causes from fewer people driving because of higher gas prices to improvements in auto safety technology. However, this reduction in traffic fatalities is only one side of the coin. There was another study released earlier this year by AAA, which said that accidents costs $164.2 billion each year, which amounts to an annual per person cost of $1,051. While the number of traffic accident related deaths has come down, the total number of traffic accidents continues to increase.

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August 20, 2008

Twin Lakes Auto Accident Caused by Cobb Teenager

Kevin Wellmerling, 49, of Clearlake and two teenage girls from Cobb reportedly suffered major injuries in a head-on collision on Highway 29 near the Twin Lakes community, according to this news report. California Highway Patrol officials say a 17-year-old girl driving a 2002 Chevrolet Suburban southbound may have lost control of her vehicle after being distracted by a dropped soda can. She then crossed over to the northbound lane, colliding head-on into Wellmerling’s 1995 Pontiac Grand Am.

CHP officials say initial reports had it that the teenage driver dropped a soda can at her feet and was trying to pick it up when the auto accident occurred. But they later gathered that a 16-year-old girl, who was a passenger in the Suburban, had unbuckled her seatbelt to retrieve the can when the accident occurred. The 16-year-old suffered minor to moderate injuries while the 17-year-old driver suffered major injuries as did Wellmerling.

This is an unfortunate accident caused by a possible distraction to a young driver. Fortunately everyone survived. It could have been much worse. My best wishes for a full and complete recovery to all those involved.

According to a recent study conducted by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm Insurance Co., 90 percent of teenagers said they rarely or never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. But they did report a host of other in-car distractions that researchers say help make traffic accidents the number one killer of American teens with a fatality rate four times higher than drivers between ages 25 and 69. About 5,600 teenagers died in auto accidents in 2005 and about 7,500 were driving vehicles that were involved in fatal California auto accidents.

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August 19, 2008

Modesto Ambulance Rollover Accident on Highway 99

The driver of a car suffered injuries in a California rollover accident after a Riggs ambulance, that was trying to merge on to the fast lane on Highway 99, collided with a Nissan Altima. Shadi Ahmad, 29, of Modesto was transported to an area hospital, according an article in the Merced Sun-Star. The accident reportedly occurred near the R Street exit near Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
Both Riggs employees, 32-year-old Gilliam Maduena who was driving and another passenger, were not injured.

California Highway Patrol officials said both vehicles were traveling at 65 mph and rolled over after the collision. Fortunately, the ambulance was not carrying patients and was not on its way to a call. It is also fortunate that this California auto accident did not result in major injuries or fatalities. Considering the speed at which the vehicles were traveling and the impact of the collision, this accident could’ve been a lot worse.

This article reports that the ambulance wasn’t carrying patients or wasn’t on its way to a call. But if the employees were returning from a call back to their workplace or if they were getting back after dropping off a patient, they would still be considered “on the job.” The report also says the victim, Ahmad, suffered “minor injuries.” I’d urge Ahmad to get a thorough medical checkup to make sure he has not suffered any internal injuries or other types of spinal, back or neck injuries, which may not be immediately apparent after an auto accident.

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August 18, 2008

Concord Pedestrian Accident Claims Woman’s Life

Elizabeth Morrison, 59, of Pleasant Hill, died in a California pedestrian accident, while walking across a street on a crosswalk in Concord, California, the Associated Press reports. Police fault the driver of the car, who ran a red light and then broadsided a pickup truck, which was proceeding through the intersection on a green light. The truck then ended up hitting Morrison. She was pronounced dead in a local hospital.

I offer my deepest condolences to Morrison’s family and Elizabeth’s friends.

There seems to be no question with this investigation that the driver of the car was at fault for running the red light and causing the chain reaction crash that killed Morrison, who was crossing the street on a marked crosswalk. The report does not say whether the driver of the car was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

If alcohol or drugs are involved in the incident, then the driver will certainly face criminal felony vehicular manslaughter charges. Even without the involvement of alcohol or drugs, the driver will likely face a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge. He will also be held financially responsible for the pedestrian accident, damages and loss.

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August 17, 2008

Los Banos Casino Tour Bus Accident Injures 13

A casino tour bus accident in Los Banos has left 13 people injured after the bus collided with a truck carrying 25 tons of tomatoes on Highway 152, according to an article in the Merced Sun-Star. California Highway Patrol officials say the accident was caused by the bus driver, 32-year-old Javier Banuelos of San Jose, who fell asleep behind the wheel. The crash occurred in the highway’s eastbound lanes near Volta Road scattering 25 tons of tomatoes on the freeway as well.

The bus was reportedly carrying 30 passengers going to Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino. The bus driver, who drifted into center median, ended up swerving and hitting the right rear side of the big rig carrying tomatoes. All passengers were transported to area hospitals, with one victim being flown to a hospital with moderate injuries. Officials assessed the injuries to be minor to moderate and say it could have been “a whole lot worse.”

Thankfully this bus accident did not result in catastrophic injuries or deaths. Given the way the accident occurred and the damage to both vehicles involved, it’s a miracle that it wasn’t a lot worse

Liability for this California bus accident appears clear. Bus passengers themselves observed their driver falling asleep at the wheel and drifting into the center median. If the injured passengers file claims against the San Jose tour bus company, they should be compensated for their injuries and losses. Such compensation will usually cover expenses such as medical bills, ongoing treatment costs, loss of wages, pain and suffer as well as any disability. Do you think the defense will ask for a credit for the gambling money that wasn’t lost?

Bus companies – whether it’s a public transit system or a private charter company – owe its passengers the utmost duty of care – more than they do to other motorists on the road or pedestrians. I would also be interested to find out if this bus driver was working overtime or more than he should have been. Whatever the reason, both he and his employer, the bus company, would be held responsible for the accident. The injured victims would be well-advised to retain the services of a very experienced California auto accident attorney to examine their rights and legal options.

August 16, 2008

Catastrophic Big Rig Accidents Caused by Sick Drivers

Commercial truck drivers and trucking companies are increasingly violating federal medical rules that prohibit disabled or sick truck drivers from operating big rigs. According to an investigative report by the Associated Press, hundreds of thousands of tractor trailer and bus drivers in the United States carry licenses to drive these vehicles in spite of qualifying for full federal disability and suffering serious health conditions such as seizures, heart attacks or losing consciousness.

Even the federal agency that is responsible for cracking down on these unfit truckers admits that it has not implemented any of the safety regulations proposed since 2001, including one that would set minimum standards to determine whether truckers are “medically safe” to drive. Another proposed regulation that was not implemented would prevent truckers from looking for doctors who may overlook risky health conditions that could lead to serious truck accidents.

Allowing unfit or sick truck drivers to operate large commercial trucks and buses has resulted in devastating big rig accidents resulting in numerous fatalities and catastrophic injuries. According to a U.S. Department of Transportation report, 5,300 people died in accidents involving large commercial trucks or buses in 2006 and about 126,000 were injured.

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August 15, 2008

Menifee Big Rig Accident Involves Elderly Driver

Richard Salyer, 84, of Sun City was killed after he reportedly pulled away from a stop sign in Menifee directly into the path of a big rig driven by 22-year-old David Padilla of Pomona, according to this news report. Padilla reportedly did not suffer major injuries, but Mr. Salyer was trapped in his Ford Ranger, went into full cardiac arrest and died at an area hospital.

According to California Highway Patrol Officer Ron Thatcher, Mr. Salyer pulled away from the stop sign at the intersection of Sherman Road and McCall Boulevard. Padilla was unable to stop his big rig in time and ended up broad siding Mr. Salyer’s pickup in the fatal intersection accident.

My condolences to the family of Mr. Salyer. It is indeed fortunate that Mr. Padilla was not seriously injured in this auto accident

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August 14, 2008

Big Rig Rollover on Interstate 5, San Diego Freeway

A Vons big rig carrying 60,000 pounds of groceries rolled over on the Interstate 5 Freeway near Camp Pendleton just outside of Orange County and caught on fire, the Orange County Register reports. The big rig rollover accident occurred on the southbound side of the freeway near Las Pulgas Road when the large commercial truck hit a sport utility vehicle that had been involved in an earlier crash, California Highway Patrol officials said.

The SUV caught on fire as well, but its driver was reportedly not injured. The driver of the grocery chain’s big rig was reportedly airlifted to a hospital. The extent of his injuries is unknown.

Thankfully this California big rig accident did not cause any fatalities. This could have been a lot worse. Hopefully the driver of this eighteen wheeler recovers quickly and fully.

Although this crash did not reportedly cause catastrophic injuries or deaths, it is important to examine what went wrong. The SUV was already stopped on the freeway due to an earlier crash.

It seems to me that the driver of the big rig either did not see the stopped vehicle or could not stop the big rig in time to avoid the collision. The article also states that the vehicle was loaded with 60,000 pounds of groceries. I would be interested to see if the truck had been overloaded or if the groceries were unevenly distributed.

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August 13, 2008

Visalia Wrong-Way Auto Accident Kills 1, Injures 1

Eric Jones, 61, died after a teenage wrong-way driver struck his 1979 Toyota Corolla during a head-on collision on a road just south of Visalia. According to a news report in the Visalia Times-Delta, 18-year-old Kailee Olson of Visalia was driving the wrong way on Demaree Street north of Avenue 272. Jones was pronounced dead shortly after the Visalia auto accident while a 10-year-old boy, who was a passenger, is in a Fresno hospital with critical injuries.

California Highway Patrol officials say they plan on charging Olson with vehicular manslaughter. CHP investigators say they don’t know why Olson was driving the wrong way and she says she has no recollection of the accident. Olson’s damaged Camry has not yet been inspected for mechanical problems, which may have been a factor in the crash, officials say. The vehicular manslaughter could be a misdemeanor or criminal count depending on whether pending toxicology tests show that there were drugs or alcohol involved.

I offer my deepest condolences to Jones’ family for their loss and wish the boy a speedy recovery.

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August 13, 2008

Streetcar Accident in San Francisco Injures 14

Fourteen people were injured Wednesday in a San Francisco streetcar crash on the F-line. According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, four streetcar passengers and two operators had to be transported to area hospitals after one of the city’s historic streetcars rear-ended the other.

The California Public Utilities Commission is investigating the bus accident. But an initial investigation by local authorities has shown that their own policy that streetcars should be operated a block apart was not followed properly. That is apparently the amount of space streetcar operators need to slow down safely.

The same internal investigation also reports that an official had warned Jeanette Molex, the streetcar operator involved in this crash, to maintain a safe distance between her vehicle and the streetcar operator in front of her earlier in the week after she was observed following to close Molex has been put on “nondriving status” after the California public bus accident. If I was representing the injured passengers, I’d want to see Molex’s personnel file. I would be looking for other indications that it was grossly negligent to this person driving streetcars at all.

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August 12, 2008

Dangerous Roadway Condition Results in Million Dollar Settlement

Tara Berendes, who was critically injured in a fiery Utah auto accident June 1 2004 soon after getting married in California, has been awarded $1.5 million from the estate of a Utah driver who died after striking her vehicle head-on. According to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune, in addition to that money, Tara Berendes will receive $1 million from the insurer of the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and a contractor, Geneva Rock Products Inc., who was doing work in the section of the freeway where the accident occurred.

According to court records, Thad Goodman was northbound on the I-15, traveling at 75 mph, when he lost control of his vehicle crossed over the median and slammed into the Berendes’ vehicle. Berendes’ attorney argued that median barriers should have been set up to prevent such head-on collisions in that section of the roadway, where work was in progress to construct HOV lanes. But UDOT and Geneva Rock Products, claimed that Goodman was totally at fault and they had placed barrels and construction warning signs in the are to caution motorists. Both Berendes and her husband suffered catastrophic injuries in the automobile crash.

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August 12, 2008

Monterey County Train Accident Kills Gonzales Man

Jose Alvarez, 46, of Gonzales in Monterey County was killed after he drove his 2001 Ford Ranger pickup truck into the path of an Amtrak train near King City, The Monterey County Herald reports.
Alvarez reportedly drove across a railroad crossing on Metz Road and directly into the path of a northbound train. According to California Highway Patrol officials, the train was traveling at 65 mph and could not stop in time to avoid colliding with Alvarez’s truck.

None of the Amtrak passengers or crew was hurt. Alvarez suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene following the train vs. auto accident. I offer my deepest condolences to Alvarez’s family.

This report does not have too many details about why or how Alvarez drove into the path of the Amtrak train. We don’t know if the railroad crossing was equipped with gates or flashing lights or signs indicating that there is a railroad crossing ahead.

According to the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHA) statistics, the United States has about 150,000 public grade crossings. Of these crossings, about 35,500 have gates, 25,000 have flashing lights and 1,200 have highway traffic signals, wigwags and bells.

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August 11, 2008

Patterson Head-On Collision Leaves Three Dead, One Seriously Injured

Monica Martinez, 27, and her 3-year-old son, Eloy Bahena, both of Westley, died in a fiery two-car accident in Patterson on Highway 33. According to an article in the Patterson Irrigator, Martinez and Eloy were two of three people who died when Martinez’s 2003 Mazda6 was struck head-on by a 1999 Chevrolet Blazer. The Blazer, driven by Patterson, California farm worker, Mario Saldivar, reportedly drifted across a solid double-yellow line southbound on Highway 33 south of Rogers Road, causing the head-on collision. Saldivar also died.

Maximo Virgen, a 43-year-old Patterson man, who was a passenger in the Blazer was the sole survivor of the accident. He is said to be in the hospital in serious condition with major injuries.

My heart goes out to the young victims of this California auto accident. My deepest condolences to their respective families and friends.

Officials however seem to have established that the accident was Saldivar’s fault. He reportedly drifted over the solid double yellow line and caused the head-on collision. But why did that occur? Such head-on collisions could happen because of driver error, an exhausted driver who fell asleep at the wheel or a distracted driver.

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August 9, 2008

Roseville Auto Accident Injures Five

Two people suffered major injuries and three others were hurt after a Roseville auto accident on Highway 20 in which a driver drifted into oncoming traffic and triggered a chain reaction, the Appeal-Democrat reports . The crash reportedly occurred just west of the Sutter Bypass when an eastbound car driven by 20-year-old Chase Morgan struck the rear trailer of a big rig heading west and then bounced off and collided with a westbound Honda driven by 34-year-old Sarab Singh.

According to California Highway Patrol officers, both Singh and Morgan suffered severe leg injuries, but Singh is reportedly still in serious condition. Three others in different vehicles were also taken to the hospital with injuries.

I’m relieved that this auto vs. truck accident did not result in more major injuries or fatalities. I wish everyone who was hurt a speedy recovery. I am also curious to hear what caused Morgan to drift away and strike the big rig, if that is really what happened. Auto accidents are commonly caused by a variety of driver conditions including exhausted drivers falling asleep at the wheel, distracted drivers or an inattentive driver.

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August 8, 2008

Humboldt Bicycle Accident Seriously Injures Student

Police are investigating a possible Humboldt State University bicycle accident the morning of July 27, which they say may have caused serious internal injuries to 31-year-old Nghiep Tuan Hyunh, a student at the university. According to an article in the Humboldt Beacon , Hyunh was taken to an area hospital after he returned to his dorm with internal injuries, which officials believe he sustained in a bicycle accident. Hyunh has not yet regained consciousness and is said to be in critical condition.

Police say they have located Hyunh’s damaged bicycle and proof that a bicycle accident took place at the base of a steep hill not far from his dorm. Authorities are asking anyone with information about this bicycle accident to call 707-826-5555. Hyunh is reportedly 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 110 pounds with black hair and eyes.

It seems to me that Hyunh must have returned to the dorm room after the incident because he did not feel significant pain soon after the accident. I’ve talked to hundreds of auto accident victims and it is not altogether uncommon for someone to feel fine soon after an accident. What happened to Hyunh is the reason why anyone who has been hurt in an accident should have themselves check out by health professionals.

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August 7, 2008

Oroville Hit-and-Run Motorcycle Accident Critically Injures Man

Dennis L. May, 59, suffered major injuries in an Oroville motorcycle accident after he tried to avoid a collision on Highway 99, the Appeal-Democrat reports.

May was reportedly traveling south on Highway 99 when a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee that was going east on Oswald Road failed to stop at a stop sign. May tried to avoid a crash by laying his bike down, but ended up hitting the left rear wheel and fender of the Jeep, California Highway Patrol and Sutter County Sheriff’s Department officials said.

The occupants of the Jeep, who reportedly caused the California motorcycle crash, fled the scene of the crash. An eyewitness who followed the hit-and-run driver told police that the Jeep’s driver ran a red light at Highway 99 and fled on foot with others from the vehicle after the Jeep broke down shortly afterwards. Officials are still looking for the hit-and-run driver of the Jeep and his passengers. If you have any information about this hit-and-run driver or others in the Jeep, please the CHP, the County Sheriff or me.

My heart goes out to May and his family. May is reportedly in critical condition. I wish him the very best for a speedy recovery.

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August 6, 2008

Alhambra Hit-and-Run Accident Leads To Arrest

Kimberly Min Hua Zhu, 23, of Los Angeles was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Alhambra, the Pasadena Star News reports. The incident reportedly occurred on the eastbound 10 Freeway, east of Fremont Avenue, California Highway Patrol officials say.

Zhu had just been involved in an accident after crashing her car into the freeway center divider. She had gotten out of the vehicle, when she was hit by a pickup truck. The driver of the pickup, Honorio Caldera-Cortez, 38, of Baldwin Park, fled the scene and was arrested a little later in his home on suspicion of felony hit-and-run. Zhu was pronounced dead at the scene.

My deepest condolences to Zhu’s family and Kimberly’s friends.

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August 5, 2008

Fatal Manhattan Beach Auto Accident Occurred On Dangerous Roadway

A fatal auto accident in Manhattan Beach is getting residents in the area talking about a dangerous roadway in the city which they say is plagued by crashes. According to a news report in the Daily Breeze, 19-year-old Carlos Enrique Elias of Wilmington was killed in a single-vehicle auto accident on Rosecrans Avenue in Manhattan Beach. He was reportedly speeding in his Honda Accord, lost control, struck and took out a lamppost near Vista Drive.

Neighbors say the city has done nothing about a dangerous bend on Rosecrans Avenue. They say they have been asking Manhattan Beach city officials to install a traffic signal there for years now. A long time resident, who has lived in the area for 30 years, is quoted in the article as saying that she has on an average seen one auto accident a month in that section of the roadway. Other innocent motorists are also struck by speeding cars who hit that turn too fast, the resident says.

Elias seems to have been at fault for this fatal auto accident, at least according to the reports, which don’t make it so. He was reportedly driving without a valid license and had been cited several times over the last few years, including once for street racing. But the issue of this dangerous roadway is a serious concern for the residents of Manhattan Beach.

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August 4, 2008

Pomona DUI Accident Leaves Pedestrian Serious Injured

Police officers in Pomona arrested a suspected drunken driver after he caused a pedestrian accident while trying to flee the scene of another minor accident., According to an article in CBS News’ Web site Carlos Pineda, 34, of Pomona, was reportedly seen drinking before he struck another vehicle while backing out of a restaurant. He drove off and two witnesses chased after him.

That’s when Pineda struck a woman crossing the street near Garvey and Philadelphia Street. Pineda was reportedly doing 80 mph in a 40 mph zone. The woman suffered major injuries and was airlifted to an area hospital, but she is said to be in stable condition. Pineda did not stop after hitting the woman. Another driver followed Pineda on to the westbound 10 Freeway until police arrested him on a freeway off-ramp in El Monte.

I’m relieved that this horrible accident did not fatally injure the pedestrian, who was unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. There is no question that Pineda would be held responsible for the California pedestrian accident and injuries caused to the woman. If Pineda has auto insurance, then the insurance company will compensate the victim for medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering. If Pineda does not have insurance then the woman should be covered under the uninsured or underinsured motorist clause in her own auto insurance policy or the policy of someone else in her household.

I hope prosecutors charge Pineda with a felony DUI and that he is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The victim and her family will be well-advised to seek the counsel of a knowledgeable California personal injury and auto accident lawyer, who will be able to conduct an independent investigation and evaluation of the accident and help the victim secure the compensation she rightfully deserves.

August 4, 2008

Oregon Motorcycle Accident Seriously Injures Two

Daryl Wick, 32, of Montana suffered critical injuries in a motorcycle accident in Vancouver, Oregon, when his vehicle collided with a Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle, the Columbian reports . Wick suffered head and neck injuries while his passenger, 26-year-old Jennifer Kenworthy suffered pelvis and hip injuries.

Police say initial investigations reveal the driver of the Explorer, 52-year-old Linda Woodmark, pulled out of a driveway on the south side of Fourth Plain Road and was trying to merge into westbound traffic. The motorcycle was traveling in the eastbound lane when it collided with the Explorer. Both motorcycle riders were reportedly wearing helmets. Alcohol or drugs did not play a part in this accident, police said.

The investigation into this serious motorcycle accident is still at a preliminary stage. But based on initial reports, it appears that the driver of the Ford Explorer did not see the motorcycle as she attempted to merge. This is probably the most common kind of motorcycle accident – whether it’s on the freeway or a city street, drivers of other passenger vehicles often don’t realize that they are sharing a traffic lane with a motorcyclist.

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August 3, 2008

Chevy Suburban Rollover Accident Injures Three In Santa Rosa

Three people were injured in a California two-car rollover accident on Highway 12 in Santa Rosa after a Chrysler sedan reportedly ran a red light and struck a Chevrolet Suburban sport utility vehicle, which flipped over. According to an article in the Press Democrat, both the driver and a passenger in the sedan and the driver of the Suburban were injured.

From the photo of the Chevrolet Suburban in this SUV Rollover accident, it appears that the vehicle’s roof crushed, which is common for General Motors Company SUVs. If the injuries to the occupants of the Chevrolet Suburban were severe head or spinal cord injuries or if any other injuries were caused by the collapsing roof or seat belt failures, the victims would be well-served by consulting with one of about a dozen auto defect law firms in the nation that are truly experienced in handling GMC SUV litigation. When considering hiring a SUV rollover accident attorney, ask them how many similar cases they have completed and how many they have in progress. Your might also want to know how many auto defect cases in total they have successfully completed against General Motors.

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August 1, 2008

Man Dies In East Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident

Jose J. Gomez, 34, of Compton, died in an East Los Angeles motorcycle accident after he crashed into a catering truck on the freeway and was run over by a second truck, the Los Angeles Daily News reports . The fatal Los Angeles motorcycle accident reportedly occurred on the 5 Freeway near Olympic Boulevard.

According to California Highway Patrol officials, Gomez was riding a 2004 Yamaha V-Star motorcycle between slow traffic, traveling at about 30 mph when he struck the catering truck, fell off his vehicle and was run over by another truck.

My deepest sympathies to Gomez’s family and Jose’s friends.

This fatal Los Angeles motorcycle vs. auto accident investigation is still at an early stage and it would take more details to determine how this accident occurred and who was at fault. CHP officers will be interviewing eyewitnesses to find out whether Gomez was traveling at a safe speed or whether the catering truck got in Gomez’s way.

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August 1, 2008

Seat Belt Saves Chico Woman’s Life In Rollover Accident

A Chico woman escaped possible major injuries or death in a Chevrolet Suburban rollover accident because she was wearing her seat belt, California Highway Patrol officials said. According to an article in the Paradise Post, Delina Morgan Johnson lost control of her 1500 Chevrolet Suburban four-wheel drive vehicle off the east side of Skyway near Rocky Bluff after her dog tripped a drink over in the center console.

The Suburban rolled over, but Johnson was wearing her seat belt. Because of that, officials say, she was able to crawl out of her vehicle and wait for emergency personnel to arrive.

This SUV rollover accident offers clear evidence of what safety experts have been saying for years. Seat belts save lives. Johnson may not have been alive had she not been buckled up. She could’ve been ejected from the vehicle and suffered major injuries or even fatal injuries. She is also very fortunate because had her car rolled in a different direction, she may have landed on large lava rocks. In that case, it could have been a fatal rollover accident.

I’m relieved that she wasn’t badly injured and I wish her well.

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