Fatal Tulare County Motorcycle Accident
Justin Houston, 21, was killed in a Visalia motorcycle accident the evening of March 21, 2009, the Visalia Times Delta reports. Houston was riding a Suzuki 750 motorcycle south on Mooney Boulevard when a Nissan Titan pickup crossed in front of him heading westbound on Oakdale Avenue or Avenue 256, California Highway Patrol officials said. Maria Vasquez, 34, the driver of the Nissan, told CHP investigators that while she stopped at the intersection, she had not seen Houston. Some witnesses told investigators that Houston was riding at a high rate of speed.
The front of Houston’s motorcycle collided with the front passenger side of the pickup truck. Houston was ejected and sustained major injuries although officials said he was wearing a helmet. Vasquez and her two passengers were uninjured.
My heart goes out to the family and friends of young Justin Houston for their heartbreaking loss. I offer my deepest condolences to everybody who knew and loved this young man. Please keep them in your prayers.
According to CHP’s 2006 traffic statistics, there was one motorcycle accident fatality and 24 injuries involving motorcycle accidents in Visalia. In Tulare County as a whole, there were 10 deaths and 90 injuries involving motorcycle accident during the year 2006.
Based on this newspaper report, it seems to me that the driver of the Nissan, Maria Vasquez, proceeded to make the turn at the intersection without paying attention to the oncoming motorcyclist. The sad fact is that like Vasquez, many drivers of larger vehicles, when they stop at an intersection, do not look for smaller vehicles such as motorcycles or bicycles. That is why these collisions happen at intersections. Very often, motorists will look for larger vehicles such as a car or a truck, but they tend to miss motorcycles, bicycles and sometimes, even pedestrians.
Justin Houston’s family should certainly get an experienced Southern California motorcycle accident lawyer on their side, who will make sure their legal rights are protected. If Vasquez was at fault for this accident, then she should be held liable. A skilled California personal injury lawyer will also determine whether that Visalia intersection presented a dangerous condition. If a dangerous condition on the roadway or intersection was a factor in this motorcycle accident, then the city or governmental agency in charge of maintaining that roadway could be held liable. Please remember that in California, any claim against a governmental agency must be filed within six months of the accident.