September 2008 Archives

September 30, 2008

Santa Ana Motorcycle Accident Kills San Juan Capistrano Man

Jason Woods, 24, of San Juan Capistrano, died in a Santa Ana motorcycle accident on Sept. 25 after his motorcycle collided with a commercial box truck, The Orange County Register reports. Woods was riding a Honda motorcycle west on Dyer Road near Red Hill Avenue when he crashed into the truck, which was making a left turn into a driveway at 2001 E. Dyer, Santa Ana police officials said.

The driver of the box truck did not suffer any injuries. Police do not believe alcohol or drugs were factors in this fatal motorcycle accident. This is apparently another addition to a series of motorcycle accidents in Santa Ana this month. On Sept. 19 a motorcycle crash killed 25-year-old Giovanni Santamaria of Santa Ana who lost control of his motorcycle while turning on South Bristol Avenue causing him to crash into a tree.

Continue reading "Santa Ana Motorcycle Accident Kills San Juan Capistrano Man" »

September 29, 2008

Santa Clarita Motorcycle Accident Kills One

Juan Garcia Zavala, 24, of Canyon Country died in a Santa Clarita motorcycle accident on Sept. 25 after his vehicle collided with a dump truck, The Signal reports. Zavala’s 2004 Yamaha motorcycle reportedly crashed into the dump truck as its driver, 55-year-old Misak Vardanyan of Van Nuys, pulled his1983 Peterbilt truck and trailer out of a driveway on Kelly Johnson Parkway.

Los Angeles County firefighters pronounced Zavala dead on the scene. Vardanyan did not suffer any injuries as a result of the crash. He was not cited or arrested. Anyone who witnessed the collision is asked to call Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s detectives at 661-799-5111.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Juan Garcia Zavala for their tragic loss.

Continue reading "Santa Clarita Motorcycle Accident Kills One" »

September 28, 2008

Northridge Pedestrian Accident Leaves Cal State Student Dead

Johoney Lobos, 19, a Cal State Northridge student, was killed in a pedestrian hit-and-run accident on Sept. 23 while walking in a Northridge crosswalk. According to an article in the Los Angeles Daily News, Lobos was crossing the street in a marked crosswalk in the 10300 block of North Lindley Avenue when a suspected drunk driver in a white sport utility vehicle struck her. The driver fled the scene.

Police found the SUV near Devonshire Street and Reseda Boulevard later and also located and arrested 42-year-old Marcia Mott Roberts, charging her with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and leaving the scene of the accident.

My heart goes out to the family of Johoney Lobos, who died tragically in this DUI hit-and-run. I offer my deepest condolences to them.

Continue reading "Northridge Pedestrian Accident Leaves Cal State Student Dead" »

September 26, 2008

San Mateo Big Rig Accident Kills 9-Year-Old Boy

Tyler Fahy, 9, died in a big rig accident in San Mateo on Sept. 24 after an out-of-control dump truck plowed into several cars in the parking lot of a Mollie Stone’s market. According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the truck lost control while driving east on 43rd Avenue. It then broadsided a car at Olympic Avenue and slammed into eight or nine other cars in the market’s parking lot. Tyler and his mother were occupants of one of the cars that were hit by the truck.

Tyler reportedly died of severe trauma while his mother was injured and transported to an area hospital. California Highway Patrol officials say they are looking into whether there was a mechanical failure in the truck operated by Hayward-based Century Roof and Solar. The driver of the big rig has not been cited or arrested in connection with this accident.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Tyler Fahy for their heartbreaking loss and my best wishes to his mother for a speedy recovery from her injuries.

Continue reading "San Mateo Big Rig Accident Kills 9-Year-Old Boy" »

September 25, 2008

Orange County SUV Rollover Accident Kills Placentia Man

Jacob Rabant, 43, of Placentia, died Sunday of injuries he suffered in an SUV rollover accident on the 55 Freeway over a week ago, The Orange County Register reports. A second vehicle may have been involved in the accident, which police say was a “non contact hit-and-run.” This essentially means that the other vehicle and its driver, who authorities are looking for, ran Rabant off the road.

The accident occurred on Sept. 13 when Rabant was driving on the southbound lanes of the 55 Freeway. He lost control of his SUV just south of Nohl Ranch Road, California Highway Patrol officials said. The vehicle crashed into the center divider and rolled over. Emergency personnel had to cut through the vehicle to get Rabant out. He was taken to an area hospital where he died about a week later.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Jacob Rabant for their tragic loss.

Continue reading "Orange County SUV Rollover Accident Kills Placentia Man" »

September 24, 2008

Trabuco Canyon Motorcycle Accident Caused by Dangerous Roadway

Marc Anthony Daneo, 48, died in a Trabuco Canyon motorcycle accident on Sept. 21 after he lost control of his Harley Davidson and struck a tree on Live Oak Canyon Road.
According to an article in The Orange County Register, Daneo, a Lake Forest resident, is not the first motorcycle rider to suffer fatal injuries on this roadway. Apparently, the narrow road is filled with memorials for people who have lost their lives in various auto accidents along the scenic, yet dangerous Orange County roadway.

Daneo was reportedly riding a Harley Davidson south on Live Oak Canyon when, for some unknown reason, he lost control of his motorcycle. Daneo went down with his Harley, slid along the roadway and hit a tree on the right shoulder of the road. The spot where Daneo lost control of his Harley on Live Oak Canyon, just south of Shelter Canyon Road was known to be particularly treacherous.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Marc Anthony Daneo and the families of other motorists who have suffered tragic losses as a result of this dangerous roadway.

Continue reading "Trabuco Canyon Motorcycle Accident Caused by Dangerous Roadway" »

September 24, 2008

Valinda DUI Multiple Vehicle Accident Kills One

Edward Lane, 61, of Valinda was killed in an auto accident involving an allegedly drunk driver on Sept. 20. California Highway Patrol officials arrested 22-year-old Elliot Imm of Duarte on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and vehicular manslaughter, according to an article in the Pasadena Star News.

The accident reportedly occurred at the intersection of Temple and Valinda avenues when officials say Imm, who was driving a 2003 Honda south on Valinda, ran a red light and struck Lane’s 2003 Chrysler. Imm suffered moderate injuries while his passenger, a 22-year-old Los Angeles woman, suffered minor injuries. After being struck by Imm’s Honda, Lane’s Chrysler was forced into a 2003 Ford whose driver also suffered minor injuries.

Continue reading "Valinda DUI Multiple Vehicle Accident Kills One" »

September 23, 2008

San Bernardino Auto Accident Kills Motorcyclist

Anthony Williams, 48, was killed in a San Bernardino motorcycle accident on Sept. 19 after a Dodge truck hit his motorcycle. According to an article in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Williams was riding his 2007 Yamaha Venture westbound on East Highland Avenue when Gregory Martinez, 74, of San Bernardino, driving a 1992 Dodge pickup truck hit Williams. Martinez, who was heading east on Highland near the 1500 block, made a left turn into the parking lot of a Stater Bros. grocery store ahead of the oncoming motorcycle.

Williams was transported to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead. The fatal motorcycle collision is being investigated by the San Bernardino Police Department. There were no citations issued or arrests made in connection with this accident.

My heart goes out to the family of Anthony Williams for their irreparable loss. Let us keep them in our prayers.

Continue reading "San Bernardino Auto Accident Kills Motorcyclist" »

September 23, 2008

Los Angeles MTA Blue Line Train Crash Injures 15

Fifteen passengers of a light-rail train suffered injuries in a Sept. 19 accident when a bus collided with the train, exactly one week after a catastrophic Metrolink train accident. The Sept. 19 crash may have been caused by the bus driver who ran a red light and crashed into the light-rail train, according to an article in the New York Times.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies, who are investigating the collision, said the bus driver, who was actually a mechanic, was test-driving the nearly empty bus at the time of the accident. The mechanic had reportedly run a traffic light and struck the Metro Blue Line train carrying 250 passengers that had just pulled out of the San Pedro Station.

Continue reading "Los Angeles MTA Blue Line Train Crash Injures 15" »

September 20, 2008

Orange County Auto Accident Kills Motorcyclist

Mihaela “Roxana” Zagoni, 26, of Mission Viejo died in a Laguna Niguel motorcycle accident Sept. 17 after her motorcycle collided with a Volkswagen Jetta near Aliso Creek Road and Moulton Parkway. According to an article in The Orange County Register, Zagoni was riding her motorcycle south on Aliso Creek Road when the collision occurred.

A reader, who lives across the street from the accident scene, commented on the Register’s Web site that the Jetta probably made a left onto Aliso Creek and hit Zagoni. Another reader, who had seen the accident, said Zagoni was thrown off her motorcycle on impact and that she fell at least 50 feet away. Officials say Zagoni suffered fatal head injuries despite wearing a helmet. The driver of the Jetta was uninjured.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Mihaela Zagoni for their irreparable loss. Zagoni reportedly started riding only a few months ago and was a member of OC Moto, a local group of motorcycle aficionados.

Continue reading "Orange County Auto Accident Kills Motorcyclist" »

September 19, 2008

San Bernardino Freeway Motorcycle Accident Kills Loma Linda Man

Ricardo Sanchez Medina, 38, of Loma Linda was killed Sept. 15 in a motorcycle accident on the 10 Freeway in Baldwin Park after he was thrown off his vehicle and run over by a tractor-trailer. According to an article in the Pasadena Star News, police are still looking for the driver of the big rig who fled the scene after running over Medina.

Medina was reportedly riding his 1991 Suzuki when he struck a vehicle and was thrown onto the roadway. Eyewitnesses are describing the big rig as gray or metallic in color.
Police are treating this as a hit-and-run accident and looking for the driver of the tractor trailer.

I offer my deepest condolences to Medina’s family for their tragic loss.

Continue reading "San Bernardino Freeway Motorcycle Accident Kills Loma Linda Man" »

September 19, 2008

210 Freeway Multi-Vehicle Accident Claims Altadena Woman

Lizbeth Ramirez, 27, of Altadena was killed in a three-vehicle crash on the Foothill (210) Freeway in Pasadena the morning of Sept. 16. According to an article in the Pasadena Star News, Ramirez’s silver Mitsubishi was involved in a minor collision with a white Chevy utility truck and was stopped in the carpool lane.

Another car driver had stopped to help and Ramirez was talking to her with her car door opened. Moments later a Dodge pickup truck then hit both the cars. The report said the Mitsubishi was spun around, Ramirez ejected and her car then ran over her causing fatal injuries. The Dodge truck also struck the vehicle of the person who had stopped to help. That victim reportedly suffered moderate injuries and was taken to an area hospital.

Continue reading "210 Freeway Multi-Vehicle Accident Claims Altadena Woman" »

September 18, 2008

Riverside DUI Truck Accident Victim Receives $1.8 Million In Damages

Monico Arias of Riverside, who suffered serious injuries after he was struck head-on by a drunken truck driver in 2006, received $1.8 million in damages from an Orange County Superior Court Judge Sept. 12, according to this report in the Riverside Press Enterprise.

The driver of the truck, Octavio Mondragon Cayentano, reportedly crossed the center of Granite Hill Drive and collided head-on into the vehicle carrying Arias and two sons, Angel, 8, and Jonathan, 4. Monico Arias suffered a broken left leg, a ruptured eye, blunt force trauma and knee injuries . According to his attorney, Arias needed four surgeries and his medical expenses exceeded $300,000.

Cayentano was an employee of Tustin-based Southern California Pipeline Construction, which was also held liable for the accident and the injuries because Cayentano was on the job at the time of this truck accident. Cayentano reportedly had a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent. It is illegal in the state of California to drive a vehicle with a BAC level of 0.08 or more.

Continue reading "Riverside DUI Truck Accident Victim Receives $1.8 Million In Damages" »

September 18, 2008

Head-On Collision Kills Lompoc Teenager

Alyssa Miller, 15, a student at Lompoc High School was killed after a head-on collision with another vehicle Sept. 14 on Highway 1. According to an article in the Santa Maria Times, Alyssa was in a 2004 Mazda 6 with her mother, Juanita Miller, 39, going south on the Highway near Gaviota when the accident happened.

Shannon Salas, 36, of Santa Barbara, was driving a 1995 Buick LeSabre north on the Highway when he allowed his car to drift into the southbound lane. Miller tried to swerve, but couldn’t avoid the collision, California Highway Patrol officials said. Alyssa was trapped in the Mazda and died at the scene, according to Santa Barbara fire authorities. Juanita Miller suffered injuries, but is said to be in fair condition. Salas and his passenger, a 17-year-old girl, suffered major injuries also. Both cars were reportedly smashed in the front, according to this news report in the Lompoc Record.

My heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Alyssa Miller, who are mourning the loss of a young and promising life.

Continue reading "Head-On Collision Kills Lompoc Teenager" »

September 17, 2008

Lancaster Motorcycle Accident Kills One

Robert Soliz, 51, of Rosamond, died in a Lancaster motorcycle accident after his 1998 Harley-Davidson collided with a pickup truck, which turned in front of him, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The motorcycle crash occurred the evening of Sept. 14 at the street intersection of Avenue J and 62nd Street West, Lancaster Police officials said.

Soliz was reportedly riding his Harley eastbound on Avenue J when his motorcycle crashed into a 2005 Dodge Ram pickup truck, which was making a left turn from westbound Avenue J to go south on 62nd Street. Soliz’s motorcycle hit the right side of the pickup truck.

Traffic investigators are still interviewing Yonathan Tafesework, 22, the driver of the pickup truck to determine if speed or alcohol were factors in this fatal accident.

Continue reading "Lancaster Motorcycle Accident Kills One" »

September 16, 2008

Rocklin Motorcycle Collision Leaves One Dead

Jason Byfield, 23, of Rocklin was killed Sept. 6 after a collision with another motorcyclist in Foresthill. According to this report in the Placer Herald, Byfield was trying to maneuver around a fallen tree on Stock Drive near the Parker Flat off-road vehicle park.

Apparently Byfield and another motorcyclist were both trying to get around that fallen tree from opposite directions, and this seems to have caused this fatal motorcycle accident. The other motorcyclist, 21-year-old Paul Albanese II of Citrus Heights, suffered injuries as well, California Highway Patrol officials said

Continue reading "Rocklin Motorcycle Collision Leaves One Dead" »

September 16, 2008

Bakersfield Motorcycle Accident Leaves One Dead

Troy Michael Romero, 42, of Boron, California, died in a Bakersfield motorcycle versus car collision Sept. 7 on Highway 58 just east of Boron Avenue. The Bakersfield Californian reports that Romero was thrown from his motorcycle after being struck from behind by a 2009 Pontiac G6.

California Highway Patrol said Romero died from his injuries at the scene of the accident. Both vehicles were going at about 70 miles an hour in the slow lane when the crash occurred. The driver of the Pontiac wasn’t identified.

My heart goes out to the family of Troy Michael Romero for their tragic loss. In Kern County, in 2006 alone, there were 13 motorcycle accident fatalities and 208 motorcycle accident related injuries.

Based on the information in this report, it is hard to tell who is at fault for this motorcycle accident. But given the few details we have here, I’ll bet that the Pontiac was traveling at a higher rate of speed and couldn’t stop in time to avoid hitting Michael Romero. If CHP investigators determine that the driver of the Pontiac is at fault, he could be held civilly responsible for the accident. The Kern County District Attorney may also file criminal charges against the driver for vehicular manslaughter. And if investigations reveal that the driver of the Pontiac was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, the criminal charges could become even more serious.

Continue reading "Bakersfield Motorcycle Accident Leaves One Dead" »

September 15, 2008

Dangerous Intersection in La Verne Continues To Claim Lives

Residents in one La Verne neighborhood say that the city made a big mistake by not putting a permanent traffic signal at a dangerous intersection, which continues to claim the lives of innocent victims. Most recently, 86-year-old Hugh McCrabbe of San Dimas who was killed Sept. 8 in a three-car collision at the intersection of Fruit Street and Baseline Road. Resident Mike Manson says the city has simply not taken crash statistics on this dangerous roadway seriously. Our source for this blog is an article in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

McCrabbe reportedly failed to yield to oncoming traffic. He was then side swiped by another vehicle and pushed into a third vehicle. McCrabbe was pronounced dead at an area hospital. Neighbors call this intersection a “deathtrap.” Some neighbors say the intersection needs a traffic light. Others say the city should lower the speed limit there from 40 mph to 25 mph.

But the bottom line in this case is that the city had the information about this dangerous La Verne intersection and did not take steps to prevent accidents. City officials say they now have funding to get a traffic light there within the next six months, but residents like Manson are skeptical.

Continue reading "Dangerous Intersection in La Verne Continues To Claim Lives" »

September 15, 2008

Auto Accident Victim’s Family Receives $ 2 Million in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A Santa Cruz company has agreed to pay $2 million in connection with a wrongful death lawsuit, which alleges that their employee caused a 2005 fatal auto accident. According to this news report, the family of the auto accident victim, 84-year-old German Rodriguez, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Ledyard Co.

The fatal auto crash occurred April 25, 2005 when Ledyard’s employee, Jeffrey Huff, cut into Rodriguez’s lane on San Felipe road, forcing Rodriguez into the path of an oncoming big rig. The impact of the crash, which decapitated Rodriguez, was witnessed by his daughter, Ada. Huff was on the job for Ledyard at the time of the accident.

In this case, attorneys for the company tried to argue that Rodriguez was too old to have been driving. They said he was the one who lost control of his car and drove into the big rig. However, at the very last minute before a jury trial, Ledyard Co. settled with the Rodriguez family for $2 million. This is said to be the largest private settlement in San Benito County in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Continue reading "Auto Accident Victim’s Family Receives $ 2 Million in Wrongful Death Lawsuit" »

September 14, 2008

San Bernardino Pedestrian Accident Kills First Grader

Axel Quiroz, a first-grader at Ramona-Alessandro Elementary School, died in a San Bernardino pedestrian accident as he was crossing a city street with his father and sister on his way to school. The Riverside Press Enterprise reports the boy died after he was struck in a crosswalk at Fifth Street and Cabrera Avenue by a driver, who said he couldn't see the child because he was "blinded by the glare of the rising sun."

The driver, 65-year-old Joseph Breaux of Rialto, has not been cited or arrested. Police say it appears that sunlight may have been a factor in the collision. The driver has no prior record of traffic or criminal violations. He didn't seem to have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs either, police say. Witnesses said the family had the green light to cross the road and the boy had just stepped off the curb when Breaux's 1971 Buick Riviera hit him. Axel's father managed to pull his daughter back, but couldn't get to his son in time. The San Bernardino County District Attorney's office is reviewing the case for possible charges.

Please keep the family of little Axel Quiroz in your prayers. I offer my deepest condolences to them for their tragic loss.

Continue reading "San Bernardino Pedestrian Accident Kills First Grader" »

September 14, 2008

Riverside Big Rig Collision Severely Injures One

A big rig was involved in a fiery collision with a stalled dump truck on the eastbound Riverside (91) Freeway Sept. 2, leaving one of the drivers with second-degree burns, according to a KNBC news report. The truck accident occurred at the Buchanan Street overcrossing, California Highway Patrol officials said.

Officials said that the dump truck became disabled in the number three lane of the freeway when its left front wheel detached. The female driver of the dump truck had managed to move the truck partially onto the freeway shoulder and was getting ready to put up the triangular hazard reflectors when a Pep Boys tractor-trailer collided with the dump truck. The right travel tank on the big rig ruptured and burst into flames causing severe burn injuries to its driver. The dump truck driver was knocked to the ground because of the impact of the crash and may have broken her right arm, CHP officials said. Both drivers were transported to an area hospital.

According to the news report, it is unknown at this point as to why the driver of the Pep Boys truck hit the stalled dump truck. It seems obvious that both drivers were on the job at the time of the crash. Both were reportedly injured while at work, so they will be entitled to worker’s compensation from their respective employers.

Worker’s compensation benefits in the state of California however, are abysmal. The driver of the dump truck, who seems to have suffered the worst injuries, would be well advised to contact an experienced Southern California big rig accident attorney, who can help determine the facts in this incident and who should be held responsible for the accident. If the driver of the Pep Boys truck is determined to be at fault, both the big rig driver and his employer will be held financially responsible for the accident and resulting injuries.

September 13, 2008

Medically Unfit Big-Rig Drivers Must Be Taken Off the Road

I recently wrote a blog about the damage, injuries and fatalities that sick truckers are causing on our roadways. Michigan auto accident lawyer Steve M. Gursten recently wrote this informative article about how Michigan has been listed among the top 12 most sanctioned states in the country that allow truckers with serious medical problems, including seizure disorders, to drive large tractor-trailers. To date, there are no regulations that require truck drivers to carry valid medical certificates.

In the article, Gursten gives an example of a client whose husband was killed in a big rig accident. The truck driver, Charles Dreyer, was reportedly suffering from a seizure disorder and took Tegretol, a powerful epilepsy medication that causes drowsiness and delayed reaction time. This alone should have barred Dreyer from driving any type of vehicle on any interstate, but he was allowed to drive a fully-loaded 150,000-pound gravel truck with two trailers in dangerous, out-of-service condition.

California is no better when it comes to truck accidents. We rank pretty high on the list of states with the highest number of big rig accidents. In 2006, California had about 12,800 big rig accidents resulting in death or injury, according to the most recent data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which monitors trucking companies. Hundreds and thousands of tractor-trailer and bus drivers carry California licenses despite qualifying for full federal disability and suffering from serious health conditions such as seizures, heart attacks or losing consciousness.

Continue reading "Medically Unfit Big-Rig Drivers Must Be Taken Off the Road" »

September 13, 2008

Metrolink Train Accident Claims 23 Lives After Collision With Union Pacific Freight Train

As dawn broke in the Southern California suburb of Chatsworth, the light of day brought to focus the horrors that had occurred the afternoon before. Authorities worked feverishly throughout the night, removing bodies from the mangled wreckage of a Metrolink passenger train that had collided with a Union Pacific freight train at approximately 4:30 p.m. PT on September 12, 2008. At the time this article was posted, publsihed reports listed the death toll at a staggering 23, with 135 individuals reported injured.

The Metrolink train was carrying about 220 commuters and two crew members when it collided head-on with a Union Pacific freight train Friday in Chatsworth, a northwestern suburb of Los Angeles. Forty-five of the injured were in critical condition, with 40 flown to hospitals, according to Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell. Another 50 people sustained what were termed minor injuries, and an additional 40 were treated at the scene but taken to hospitals for evaluation.

Continue reading "Metrolink Train Accident Claims 23 Lives After Collision With Union Pacific Freight Train" »

September 12, 2008

Rollover Crash Near Paso Robles Kills Cambria Toddler and Father

A 3-year-old Cambria boy and his father, Ronnie Clemmons, died in a single vehicle rollover accident Sept. 1 on the Highway 46 East. Nichole Clemmons, 20, was driving the Nissan Titan when the truck drifted off the roadway. When the driver tried to overcorrect, the truck left the roadway and rolled over, according to an article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune. The boy, Caleb Clemmons, who was in a child car seat, and his father were both ejected from the vehicle. Ronnie Clemmons was reportedly not wearing his seatbelt.

Nichole Clemmons and 10-month-old Lauren Clemmons reportedly suffered minor injuries. California Highway Patrol officials are saying that the focus of the auto accident investigation is whether the child safety seat was properly restrained in the vehicle at the time of the rollover crash. Drugs or alcohol were not involved in the accident, CHP officials say.

Please keep this grieving family, which has lost two beloved family members, in your prayers. I offer my deepest condolences to the Clemmons family.

It will be interesting to see whether the child car seat holding Caleb was properly restrained in the vehicle. If it was, then investigators should look into whether there was a product defect as far as the child car seat is concerned. Did the car seat hold up and protect the child as it was supposed to during that rollover crash? The infant in the car seems to have been secured and escaped with minor injuries. It is indeed unfortunate that Ronnie Clemmons was not buckled up. That seatbelt could have saved his life.

Continue reading "Rollover Crash Near Paso Robles Kills Cambria Toddler and Father" »

September 12, 2008

Bakersfield Pedestrian Accident Leaves One Dead

Wendall Vern Lyons, 47 died in a Bakersfield pedestrian accident Aug. 27 after she was struck by a sport utility vehicle, the Bakersfield Californian reports. Lyons was crossing Union Avenue east to west behind a companion when a Chevrolet Equinox driven by 24-year-old Tony Avila, hit her. The man who was crossing ahead of Lyons was reportedly not injured. Authorities are not sure whether Avila was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Wendall Lyons for their tragic loss.

According to California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Reporting System, Bakersfield had three pedestrian fatalities in 2006 and 72 injuries from pedestrian accidents during that same year.

It’s too early to tell what exactly caused this California pedestrian accident. The news report does not specify whether Lyons and her friend were crossing the intersection in a marked crosswalk. If they were, then it becomes important to find out who had the green light. All these important details can very quickly change the complexion of an accident case.

Continue reading "Bakersfield Pedestrian Accident Leaves One Dead" »

September 11, 2008

Ventura Pedestrian Accident Leaves Oxnard Man Dead

Eulogio Garcia Sanchez, 53, of Oxnard was killed in a vehicle versus pedestrian accident Sept. 3 after a car hit him as he was walking in an unmarked crosswalk, the Ventura County Star reports. Sanchez was reportedly walking across C Street at the corner of Elm Street when a pickup truck heading southbound struck him, Oxnard police officials said. The driver of the pickup, who has not yet been identified, stopped immediately and called 911.

Sanchez reportedly died at the scene of the Oxnard pedestrian accident. The driver told police that he saw Sanchez “at the last minute” and couldn’t avoid hitting him. Investigators have ruled out speed, drugs or alcohol as factors in this pedestrian accident. The driver has neither been arrested nor cited.

My heartfelt condolences to the family of Eulogio Sanchez.

It is still too early to tell exactly what happened or what caused this accident. The driver did what he should’ve done – stopped immediately and called 911. But I would be interested to see what caused him to strike Sanchez. In this case, the pedestrian was crossing at an “unmarked crosswalk,” which is the portion of the roadway at an intersection 10-feet wide that would connect opposite sides of the street. Every intersection contains legal crosswalks; marked or unmarked.

Continue reading "Ventura Pedestrian Accident Leaves Oxnard Man Dead" »

September 11, 2008

Fresno County Rollover Accident Kills Westchester Resident

Andrew McGuire, 23, of Westchester died in a rollover accident on Interstate 5 in western Fresno County, according to an article in the Fresno Bee. California Highway Patrol officers say that McGuire was driving North in a 2004 Toyota on Interstate 5 when the car veered off the road and overturned. Officers say McGuire was not wearing his seatbelt and was ejected. His passenger, Rosaura Edith Rodriguez, 23, was reportedly treated in an area hospital for minor injuries and released.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Andrew McGuire, who died in this fatal auto accident.

Rollover accidents often result in fatalities because of the intensity of the crash and the physical trauma caused to the vehicle's occupants. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), out of 40,000 fatal traffic accidents in 2005, about 10,000 (one-fourth) were rollover accidents.

Continue reading "Fresno County Rollover Accident Kills Westchester Resident" »

September 10, 2008

San Diego Motorcycle Accident Seriously Injures Navy Officer

Tyler Chelone, a 25-year-old Navy officer, is still fighting for his life after his motorcycle collided with a truck near Jamul in San Diego County Aug. 31. According to an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Chelone was riding his 2008 Suzuki GSXR 600 motorcycle north on Honey Springs Road near Lyons Valley Road when his motorcycle crossed the double yellow lines and collided with a GMC Sonoma pickup. The driver of the pickup, a 76-year-old man, was uninjured.

Chelone was thrown from the motorcycle and suffered severe injuries, including one to the left side of his head. The news report describes Chelone as “safe a rider as there could be” and that he always followed traffic rules and regulations. The Navy and Marine Corps in recent years have been placing a strong emphasis on motorcycle rider safety after a record 50 sailors and Marines nationwide have been killed in motorcycle accidents this year.

I offer my best wishes for a speedy recovery to Tyler Chelone who was reportedly getting ready to start his training as a Navy SEAL in November.

Continue reading "San Diego Motorcycle Accident Seriously Injures Navy Officer" »

September 10, 2008

Big Rig Versus Motorcycle Accident On Ortega Highway Kills One

Christopher Michael Snethen, 23, died in a Sept. 3 motorcycle accident in Lake Elsinore after his vehicle reportedly crossed the double yellow lines and went directly into the path of a big rig on the Ortega (74) Highway. According to a KNBC news report, Snethen was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which occurred near Grand Avenue.

California Highway Patrol officials say Snethen was westbound on Highway 74 when he lost control of his 2007 Kawasaki Ninja on a curve and veered into the path of a loaded Freightliner flatbed truck. The driver of the big rig, 26-year-old Noah Dwaine Jackson, couldn’t avoid the motorcycle vs. truck collision even after braking and steering to the right. Jackson was not injured.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Christopher Snethen for their tragic loss.

Continue reading "Big Rig Versus Motorcycle Accident On Ortega Highway Kills One" »

September 9, 2008

Tractor Trailer Accident on Highway 126 Leaves One Dead

An out-of-control big-rig plowed into a Caltrans road cleanup crew killing one member and injuring two others who were part of a team that was doing court-ordered community service on Highway 126 between Ventura and Santa Paula. According to a Sept. 5 news report in the Ventura County Star, 22-year-old Christopher Williams was pronounced dead at the scene. Another crew member, 29-year-old Felipe Reyes suffered critical injuries including a severed leg and a third worker, 23-year-old Matt Turnquist, suffered moderate injuries

According to the article, the flatbed truck was being driven by Steven Higgins, 49, of Ojai for Bakersfield-based Nabors Well Services. The big-rig was near Edwards Ranch Road in the right lane of westbound Highway 126 before the truck accident. The truck then veered into the right shoulder, struck a curb, bounced back into the left lane striking a car and then ran into three members of the crew cleaning an area next to the median.

My heart goes out to the family of Christopher Williams and to the other injured victims.
Since 1924, 32 Caltrans employees have been killed on the job in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, officials said.

Continue reading "Tractor Trailer Accident on Highway 126 Leaves One Dead" »

September 9, 2008

San Clemente Bicycle Accident Kills Fullerton Man

Gary Reynolds, 43, of Fullerton died in a San Clemente bicycle accident Sept. 3 after he was struck by a Hummer sport utility vehicle while riding in an alley. According to an article in The Orange County Register, officials are investigating the accident to look into whether alcohol or drugs may have been involved in the incident, which occurred in the alley near El Camino Real and Los Molinos.

Police have not identified the driver of the Hummer yet. They also have not determined who is at fault for this SUV vs. bicycle accident. I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Gary Reynolds. According to statistics provided by California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Reporting System (SWITRS), bicycle accident fatalities do not commonly occur in San Clemente. According to CHP’s 2006 statistics, there were only five reported injuries related to bicycle accidents and no bicycle accident fatalities in San Clemente.

Continue reading "San Clemente Bicycle Accident Kills Fullerton Man" »

September 8, 2008

I-80 Accident Near Napa As Bus Collides with Big Rig

A casino tour bus driver and five of his passengers suffered injuries when their bus was hit by a tractor trailer in Solano County Aug. 28 on the Interstate 80, according to a KTVU-TV news report.

California Highway Patrol Officer Marvin Williford said the driver of the big rig, 30-year-old Juan Velasquez, was taking the I-80 off ramp from the highway when he was reportedly unable to negotiate a sharp left turn at the bottom of the ramp. Velasquez’ 1993 Freightliner tractor-trailer struck the tour bus owned and operated by Reliant Travel of Oakland. The bus driver was identified as 50-year-old Jimmy Duncan of Oakland. Alcohol is not suspected in this California bus crash. The five victims were taken to an area hospital for treatment. The bus was reportedly returning from the River Rock Casino in Geyserville and was transporting five passengers to Emeryville.

I wish all the injured victims a speedy recovery.

Preliminary investigations show that the accident could have been the fault of the big rig driver because he failed to negotiate the turn as he attempted to take the off ramp. As a result, he ended up hitting the bus. If investigators determine that Velasquez is at fault, then he and his employer could be held responsible for the truck accident and injuries to the bus passengers. On the other hand, if the bus driver is found to have been under the influence of alcohol, which officials are investigating now, then the bus company could be held responsible for the passengers’ injuries.

Continue reading "I-80 Accident Near Napa As Bus Collides with Big Rig" »

September 7, 2008

Orange County DUI Accident Kills Teenager

MacKenzie Frazee, a 16-year-old girl, has died in an Orange County DUI auto accident, which happened in an unincorporated area of Orange County near Tustin, The Orange County Register reports. The 17-year-old boy who was behind the wheel at the time of the incident was reportedly arrested on suspicion of felony drunk driving.

The auto accident occurred Aug. 28 when the teen driver, who authorities say was speeding, lost control of his black 1998 Mercedes Benz E320 and struck a traffic signal pole at the interection of Newport Avenue and La Colina Drive. California Highway Patrol officials say Frazee was wearing a seat belt. She was pronounced dead a little after the car accident in an area hospital. The name of the teen driver was not released because he is a minor. He suffered only minor to moderate injuries.

My heart goes out to the family of MacKenzie Frazee. Please keep them in your prayers.

The young man who has been arrested will most likely face not only felony drunk driving charges, but also criminal vehicular manslaughter charges. He could also be held civilly responsible for the death of MacKenzie Frazee.

Continue reading "Orange County DUI Accident Kills Teenager" »

September 6, 2008

La Canada Big Rig Accident Blamed on Brake Failure, Overloading

A runaway big rig loaded with 78,000 pounds of onions rammed into several cars in a La Canada parking lot injuring one person and almost running over another person, according to a KABC news report. The big rig accident was reportedly caused after the truck’s brakes failed and the driver, 43-year-old James Byrne, lost control of the vehicle as he got over the Angeles Crest Highway and headed toward Foothill Boulevard. He then crashed the big rig through a guard rail in front of the Hill Street Café and plowed into several vehicles in the parking lot.

A worker in the parking lot suffered minor injuries. Simon Lim, a supply manager of the café, almost got hit by the runaway truck. At least a half a dozen cars were damaged by the runaway big rig. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers said it is illegal to haul a load of that size up on the Angeles Forest and Angeles Crest highways.

I’m relieved that this big rig accident did not cause any catastrophic injuries or fatalities.
This accident occurred at a major intersection and the damages and casualties could have been much worse. However, this incident highlights a major problem with large commercial trucks and big rigs on our roadways – overloading. The article states that the big rig was loaded with 78,000 pounds of onions.

Continue reading "La Canada Big Rig Accident Blamed on Brake Failure, Overloading" »

September 6, 2008

Harbor City Auto Accident Kills Long Beach Man

Juan Ramos, 47, was killed in an auto accident when a driver who ran a red light at the Harbor City street intersection of Western and Lomita struck Ramos’ vehicle, according to a Daily Breeze news blog.

The accident occurred Sept. 2 when 20-year-old Rigoberto Santillan of Harbor City who was going north on Western Avenue ran a red light and slammed his Chevrolet Suburban into Ramos’ Jeep Cherokee. Ramos was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead. Police say drugs or alcohol were not a factor in this accident. Santillan reportedly suffered minor injuries and is expected to face vehicular manslaughter charges although he was not arrested.

The article describes Ramos as a “family man.” I will certainly keep his family in my prayers and offer my deepest condolences for their heartbreaking loss.

The report clearly states that Ramos had the green light and Santillan ran a red light causing the crash. There is no question that Santillan will be held criminally and civilly responsible for this tragic Harbor City auto accident. Whatever be the cause for his apparent negligence – speeding, distractions or just carelessness, he must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Continue reading "Harbor City Auto Accident Kills Long Beach Man" »

September 5, 2008

Azusa Bicycle Accident Kills 11-year-old Boy

Martin Solorio, 11, died in an Azusa car versus bicycle collision Sep. 3 at the intersection of Baseline Road and Rockvale Avenue when he was struck by a motorist while riding his bike in a crosswalk. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported the driver, 42-year-old Francine Willis, was booked on unrelated arrest warrants and is yet to be criminally charged in connection with the fatal Azusa bicycle accident.

Martin was reportedly riding his bicycle after finishing his first day of middle school when the vehicle struck him. The boy was thrown 100 to 125 feet from the crosswalk and died from fatal head injuries.

My heart goes out to the family of young Martin Solorio. Please keep them in your prayers.

According to officials, Willis, the driver who struck Martin, already had two traffic-related arrest warrants. Investigators are still looking into how this auto vs. bicycle accident occurred. I’m sure they will look into whether Willis was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at the time of the accident.

Continue reading "Azusa Bicycle Accident Kills 11-year-old Boy" »

September 4, 2008

Fresno County Bicycle Accident Kills Caruthers Man

Moises Romero, 47, of Caruthers, died in a bicycle accident in Fresno County. Romero was hit by a sport utility vehicle near the intersection of Mountain View and Tahoe Avenues in Caruthers according to a story in the Fresno Bee. California Highway Patrol officials say that Romero rode into the path of a Ford Escape driven by a Riverdale man.

I offer my deep condolences to Romero’s family for their irreparable loss.
According to CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were four bicycle accident fatalities and 157 injuries involving bicycle accidents in Fresno County in 2006.

If I were a member of the Romero family, I would question how officials arrived at the initial determination that Romero rode into the path of the Ford Escape. Did they base that inference on what the driver of the Ford Escape said, or were there other eyewitnesses who corroborated that information? If I were an attorney representing the Romero family, I would not buy the story unless there is specific evidence and eyewitnesses other than the driver of the SUV saying that Romero was at fault.

Continue reading "Fresno County Bicycle Accident Kills Caruthers Man" »

September 3, 2008

South Los Angeles School Bus Accident Kills One, Injures One

One man was killed in a South Los Angeles school bus accident Aug. 16, the Los Angeles Times reports. The school bus collided with a Nissan compact car on East Slauson Avenue east of Avalon Boulevard, according to Los Angles police officials.

There were no children or other passengers on the school bus, but the impact of the crash is believed to have killed the 30-year-old driver of the Nissan on the spot. A 24-year-old passenger in the Nissan suffered minor injuries. The school bus driver was reportedly uninjured. Officials have not released the names of the deceased victim and injured passenger.

Continue reading "South Los Angeles School Bus Accident Kills One, Injures One" »

September 2, 2008

Costa Mesa Woman Killed In Newport Beach Pedestrian Collision

Martha Ovalle, a 32-year-old Costa Mesa resident, died in a Newport Beach pedestrian accident Aug. 29 after she was struck by a sport utility vehicle while crossing the road.
Ovalle was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene shortly after she was hit by a GMC Yukon westbound on Westcliff Drive near Dover Drive even as she was crossing on a marked crosswalk, the Daily Pilot reports.

Newport Beach Police cited the driver, 41-year-old Martin Kuehl of Costa Mesa, for the fatal Buckingham Lane and Westcliff Drive street intersection accident and also arrested him for a parole violation. Newport Beach traffic investigators say Kuehl didn’t seem to be speeding. They say drugs or alcohol did not play a part in the crash either. But they are not ruling out that a distraction such as a cell phone may have caused Kuehl to hit Martha Ovalle.

This is the second Newport Beach fatal pedestrian accident in one week. On Aug. 25, Michelle Kim, 54, of Redondo Beach was struck and killed by a minivan when she crossed Newport Place Drive outside a crosswalk. The driver in that case, Sung Van Le of Santa Ana, was questioned by police and released.

Continue reading "Costa Mesa Woman Killed In Newport Beach Pedestrian Collision" »