A 24-year-old man was killed and a 16-year-old boy suffered serious injuries in a Los Banos auto accident on November 30, 2008. The 11/30/08 crash occurred when Gilbert Fuentes, 43, who was driving at 50 mph westbound on Highway 152, slammed into a Honda driven by 24-year-old Omar Gutierrez of Fresno. The victims were passengers in the Honda, which was stopped at a red light when the impact happened. Our source for this blog was a report in the Merced Sun-Star.
California Highway Patrol officials said Fuentes failed to see the Gutierrez’s Honda directly in front of him. The impact of the rear-end collision forced the leg of a pop-up canopy kept in the back seat of the Honda, to push through an ice chest, the driver’s seat and the front passenger’s seat. The man was killed instantly when the canopy leg impaled him through his back. The 16-year-old was taken to a local hospital with major injuries. Fuentes and Omar Gutierrez were not injured.
My heart goes out to both victims of this fatal auto accident. I offer my deepest condolences to the family of the deceased victim. The teenager will be in my prayers and I wish him the very best for a quick and complete recovery.
There is no question in this case that Fuentes is at fault for this accident, if everything in this newspaper report is accurate. Even if alcohol or drugs are not involved, Fuentes is looking at criminal charges. Fuentes should also be held civilly responsible for his reckless behavior and for causing this accident. If it is determined that he was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then he would most likely face vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI charges.
I’d urge the family of both victims to consult with an experienced California auto accident attorney, who will pursue the negligent parties to secure justice and compensation for the victims and their families. A skilled personal injury lawyer will also look at other factors that may have caused an auto accident such as the involvement of another vehicle or a dangerous condition on a roadway or intersection.