Ricardo Mercado, 10, was killed in a Los Angeles car accident after he was struck by an SUV while walking in a crosswalk with his family, the Los Angeles Times reports. Ricardo was crossing Tweedy Boulevard at San Vincente Avenue in South Gate the morning of August 22, 2009 with his mother, Ana Mercado, 35, and two sisters, Anita, 12 and Leticia, 6, when a woman driving a Volkswagen SUV made a left turn from San Vincente onto Tweedy and struck the family. Eyewitnesses told police that the female driver of the SUV was talking on a cell phone right before the fatal accident occurred.
South Gate police say there was no indication that the motorist made an attempt to stop before the collision. It was also not clear how fast she was going at the time. Ana Mercado, as well as her daughters, was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
My heart goes out to the Mercado family for their tragic and heartbreaking loss in this South Gate car accident. I offer my deepest condolences to them. Apparently Ana Mercado tried to get to her son, but couldn’t because she had a broken leg. Tragic! I wish Ana and her daughters the very best for a quick and complete physical recovery. The emotional recovery in such cases could take much longer. This family will certainly be in my prayers.
Los Angeles Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2007 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were three fatalities and 44 injuries involving pedestrian accidents in South Gate, California. In Los Angeles County as a whole, 210 deaths and 5,095 injuries were reported as a result of pedestrian accidents in 2007.
Based on this article, the Mercado family was walking in a marked crosswalk at the time of the fatal car collision. California Vehicle Code Section 21950 states: “The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.” The same section also states that the driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk “shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of a vehicle or take any other action relating to the operating of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.”
Los Angeles Car Accident Liability Issues
In this case, at least one eyewitness has said that the driver of the SUV was talking on the cell phone at the time, which is also a violation of California law. The Times article also reports that this South Gate intersection is known to be a “dangerous intersection” for pedestrians. Many residents have apparently been asking for various improvements, including a lighted crosswalk for pedestrian safety.
The Mercado family would be well-advised to retain the services of an experienced
Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, who will analyze all aspects of this case and hold all negligent parties accountable. The motorist here could be held criminally and civilly liable. If a dangerous roadway or intersection is determined to have caused this car accident, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining that roadway could also be held liable. Any claim against a governmental entity in the state of California must be properly filed within 180 days of the accident or injury.
In cases where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, families of deceased car accident victims may be able to file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation to cover medical/funeral expenses, loss of earnings (if applicable) and other related damages.