Orange County Man Fatally Injured in Auto Accident
Christopher Smith, 45, of Huntington Beach was killed in a Thousand Oaks traffic accident the night of March 17, 2009, the Ventura County Star reports. Smith was driving south on the Highway 23 transition to Highway 101 north when he missed a curve and drove straight into a field that separates the connector from the highway. His vehicle traveled about 750 feet through the grass and dirt and flew off a 20 foot ledge and dropped on to the freeway into the path of a truck driven by 52-year-old Dwight Fujii of Newbury Park.
Fujii’s pickup truck spun out of control, overturned and came to rest on its wheels. Smith was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead. Fujii was taken to hospital with a sprained ankle and other minor injuries, California Highway Patrol officials said. This is apparently the second fatal car crash on Highway 101 in Thousand Oaks in less than a week. Earlier, an Oxnard woman was killed when the car she was a passenger in crashed into a tree and overturned south of Westlake Boulevard, barely two miles from the site of this more recent collision.
My heart goes out to the family and friends of Christopher Smith. I offer my deepest condolences to them for their tragic loss. I also sympathize with Dwight Fujii, who was unfortunately in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The question here is why Christopher Smith missed that curve on the highway. CHP officials say alcohol or drugs were not a factor in this fatal crash. Based on the newspaper report, Smith does not seem to have been distracted or fallen asleep at the wheel. The question then is: What went wrong here? Was there a mechanical malfunction with his truck? Was there a dangerous condition on the highway and a lack of visibility? Could a sign indicating the dangerous curve have saved Smith’s life? If I were a member of the Smith family, I’d want to know what caused this horrific Orange County auto accident and if there was negligence involved.
Christopher Smith’s family would be well-advised to consult an experienced California auto accident attorney, who will look at all aspects of this case and help determine the facts. If there was a dangerous condition on this roadway, the governmental agency responsible for maintaining that roadway could be held liable. Please remember that any claim against a governmental agency in California must be filed within six months of the accident.
Our source for this blog was this news report in the Ventura County Star.