Jeff Lopez, a Santa Maria police officer, sustained injuries in a Santa Maria car accident the night of July 13, 2010 after his cruiser was struck by a man who ran a stop sign at a local intersection. According to a news report in the Santa Maria Times, the injury collision occurred at the intersection of Morrison Avenue and Pine Street. Jeff Lopez’s patrol car was sideswiped by a vehicle driven by 53-year-old Robert Thomas Kelly Jr. who ran a stop sign at Pine Street. Kelly was also arrested by police on suspicion of felony DUI. Lopez was transported to a local hospital for head trauma. However, he did not sustain life-threatening injuries.
It is indeed fortunate that Lopez, the victim of this street intersection accident, did not sustain any major injury. I wish him the very best for a speedy and complete recovery. He will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Car Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2008 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were four fatalities and 469 injuries involving car accidents in Santa Maria. In Santa Barbara County as a whole, 35 people died and 1,952 were injured as a result of car accidents during the same year.
Drunk Driving Law
In this particular case, the driver, Kelly, is suspected of driving under the influence and running a stop sign, both serious violations of California law. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a): “It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.” The same section also states that it is illegal for anyone to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher. Running a stop sign is also a violation under California Vehicle Code section 21082 (a).
Claim for Compensation
In such cases, injured victims would be well-advised to contact an experienced California personal injury lawyer, who has an excellent track record financially pursuing drunk drivers. Here, the police officer was on duty. So he will be entitled to receive workers compensation benefits. However, he can also file a claim for compensation against the driver, if he is determined to have been at fault. Such claims seek damages to cover medical expenses, loss of wages, cost of hospitalization and physical therapy. An experienced car accident lawyer will also advise victims about how their own car insurance policy applies to an incident involving an uninsured or underinsured driver.
What are some of your concerns about other drivers when you are operating a vehicle or walking on the roadway?
The Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.