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Lancaster Auto Accident Kills Toddler

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Manzeal Walker, a 2-year-old Palmdale boy, was killed in a Lancaster traffic accident, according to an October 6, 2008 CBS News report. The crash occurred when a 21-year-old woman, driving southbound on 20th Street West in a 2004 Hyundai, ran a red light at Avenue N. Her car struck a Dodge vehicle of which Walker was a passenger.

California Highway Patrol officials said the Dodge then spun into the path of a 2007 Toyota. The impact from that collision caused Manzeal to be ejected from the Dodge. Manzeal was pronounced dead at an area hospital. A 27-year-old female passenger in the Dodge and a 2-year-old child in the Hyundai were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Officials say Manzeal may not have been properly restrained.

My heart goes out to the family of little Manzeal. Please keep them in your prayers.

There were 19 traffic accident fatalities and 969 traffic accident related injuries in Lancaster in 2006, according to CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Reporting System. Five out of the 19 traffic fatalities in Lancaster were alcohol-related, the report states.

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, in 2006, as many as 171,000 auto accidents, 144,000 injuries and 887 fatalities were attributed to red light running. Public costs exceed $14 billion per year and more than half of the deaths in red light running crashes are other motorists and pedestrians. Red light runners are dangerous drivers who irresponsibly put others at risk.

In this case, the driver of the Hyundai will likely face criminal vehicular manslaughter charges for causing the accident and the fatality. According to the California Penal Code Section 192 (c), vehicular manslaughter is defined as “driving a vehicle in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to felony, and with gross negligence.” It could become a felony charge if officials determine that alcohol and/or drugs were a factor in this horrible crash.

The family of Manzeal Walker would be well-advised to retain the services of a reputed Southern California car accident attorney with a wealth of local case experience. A skilled personal injury lawyer will also look into whether the boy’s death was caused by a defective product such as a defective seatbelt. The attorney should also investigate if there was a dangerous condition at this Lancaster intersection that was a factor in this crash. If that is the case, the government agency responsible for maintaining the roadway could be held liable. Please remember that any claim against a government agency in the State of California must be filed within six months of the accident.

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