A suspected drunk driver struck and killed 51-year-old motorcyclist Robert “Big Bob” Ybarra on October 13, 2008 during the American Heat Motorcycle Weekend in Palm Springs, according to an article in The Desert Sun.
Ybarra’s fiancé, 34-year-old Nadine Petak was injured in the crash. The fatal motorcycle accident occurred when 76-year-old Max Moorehouse pulled out his Toyota 4Runner in front of Ybarra’s Harley-Davidson at Camino Real and East Palm Canyon Drive. Ybarra died two days after the 10/13/2008 accident.
I offer my condolences to the family and friends of Robert Ybarra. My heart especially goes out to his fiancé, Nadine Petak, who witnessed the entire incident. By all accounts, Ybarra seems to have been a beloved friend and family member. This is a huge tragedy for those who have known and loved him.
Moorehouse, the suspected drunk driver, will most likely be charged with vehicular manslaughter. According to the California Vehicle Code Section 191.5 (a): “Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, in the driving of a vehicle…and the killing was either a proximate result of the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, and with gross negligence, or the proximate result of the commission of a lawful act that might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence.”
I hope the family of Robert Ybarra receives the justice they rightfully deserve. I expect law enforcement and the district attorney will do their job in making sure Moorehouse is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Moorehouse is also civilly liable to Ybarra’s heirs for his death. If Moorehouse was on the job at the time of the motorcycle accident or running errands for someone, his employer or the person he was running errands for could also be held financially responsible for Ybarra’s death.
Ybarra’s family would be well-advised to seek the expert advice of an experienced California personal injury lawyer qualified in auto versus motorcycle collision cases. If I were representing this family, I would want my investigator out at the scene to see if there was anything about the physical layout of the roadway where this occurred and whether that was a factor in this accident. If the SUV was pulling out of a driveway, there is the possibility of negligence on the part of the property owner for a dangerous condition.
According to California Civil Code Section 377.60 (a), Ybarra’s heirs are entitled to damages in a wrongful death claim for:
- Loss of financial support they would have received from Ybarra
- Loss of gifts or benefits they would have expected to receive from Ybarra
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of the reasonable value of household services that would have otherwise been performed by Ybarra
- Loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society and moral support.
- Loss of training and guidance that Ybarra would have otherwise provided.