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.
There is an endless number of things that could’ve gone wrong here. CHP officials say drugs and/or alcohol were not a factor in the crash. The driver, Salas, could have fallen asleep at the wheel and allowed the vehicle to drift. Salas may have been distracted. There may have been a mechanical defect in the Buick.
The family of Alyssa Miller should consider retaining the services of a reputed California auto accident attorney, who will look into what caused this head-on collision and who should be held responsible. If it is determined that the accident occurred because of Salas’ negligence then he will and should be held liable for the crash, injuries and death.
A skilled personal injury lawyer will also explore the possibility of a dangerous condition on the highway, which may have been a factor in the accident. If that was the case, then the government agency responsible for maintaining the highway could be held liable.
Please remember that any claim against a governmental agency in the State of California should be filed within six months of the accident.