Donna Louise Fatheree, 46, was killed in a San Bernardino car accident September 21, 2009, after she struck a car whose driver was attempting to make a left turn at an intersection. According to a news report in the Victorville Daily Press, Fatheree was driving a 1994 Dodge van east on Highway 18 in Apple Valley, California, when she entered the intersection of Highway 18 and Flathead Road and crashed into a Chevy Avalanche that was going west on Highway 18. The driver of the Avalanche was apparently trying to turn left onto Flathead at the time, San Bernardino Sheriff’s officials said.
Fatheree’s Dodge van rolled over many times before coming to rest. There were some witness reports that Fatheree was not wearing her seatbelt at the time of the car accident and had been ejected from the vehicle. Fatheree was taken to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Donna Louise Fatheree for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your prayers.
San Bernardino Car Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2007 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were five fatalities and 64 injuries involving
car accidents in Apple Valley, California. In San Bernardino County, 308 fatalities and 9,920 injuries were reported in 2007 as a result of car accidents.
Based on this news report, it is not clear who had the right-of-way at this Apple Valley intersection. If the light was green to through traffic on Highway 18, then the person turning left, in this case the driver of the Avalanche, should have yielded right-of-way to Fatheree. Unless the driver of the Avalanche had a green arrow at the time, Fatheree had the right-of-way.
California Car Accident Law
California law is very specific about the requirements for drivers making a left turn or a U-turn. California Vehicle Code section 21801 (a) states: “The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left or to complete a U-turn upon a highway, or to turn left into public or private property, or an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety.”
If I were a member of Fatheree’s family, I would also want to have any auto products liability issues here investigated — to determine if Fatheree was wearing a seatbelt or not, given the fact that she was ejected from the van. There is the possibility that she wasn’t buckled up, but I know of numerous cases of seat belt failure in similar rollover crashes. An expert would be able to thoroughly examine the vehicle to establish whether a seat restraint system failure caused Fatheree to be ejected from the vehicle.
In such cases, victims and their families would be well-advised to consult with an experienced California personal injury lawyer, who will follow up with investigators, analyze all aspects of the case and make sure the negligent parties are held accountable. The best personal injury lawyers will always offer a free consultation to injured victims and their families.