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.
Under the provisions of California’s Government Code, Section 835, a public entity is liable when there is a dangerous condition on the public property at the time of the injury, when the injury was directly caused by the dangerous condition and the public entity knew that a dangerous condition existed, but didn’t act on it. For a condition to be dangerous for purposes of government liability, it must be dangerous when used by motorists or others who are exercising due care, not just those who are being negligent themselves.
Any action that the City of La Verne takes in the future comes too late for victims who have lost their lives or suffered catastrophic injuries at that dangerous intersection. But city officials should take action now before there are any more La Verne auto accidents. Yes, it costs money. But consider the millions the city may be required to hand out in compensation to a victim who gets seriously injured or to a family that has lost a loved one.