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Pedestrian Fatally Injured in Riverside Car Accident Involving Police Vehicle

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Isabel Pablo Tomas, 57, was killed in a Riverside car accident after a police vehicle struck her as she crossed the street, the morning of May 13, 2012. According to a news report in The Press-Enterprise, the pedestrian accident occurred on Madison Street in front of St. Anthony’s Church in Casa Blanca. Police say the woman was crossing Madison Avenue near Emerald Street from the west side to the east outside a crosswalk, when an on-duty officer in a marked Riverside police cruiser struck her. Tomas suffered major injuries. She was transported to an area hospital where she died. The police car did not have its lights or sirens on at the time. The investigation is ongoing.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family members and friends of Isabel Pablo Tomas, who are mourning this terrible loss. My heart especially goes out to her six children who lost their mother the morning of Mother’s Day.

Riverside Pedestrian Accident Statistics

According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were four fatalities and 86 injuries involving Riverside pedestrian accidents. In Riverside County as a whole, 39 people died and 370 were injured as a result of pedestrian accidents, during the same year.

What Caused This Crash?

Based on this news account, it appears that there is some question as to whether Tomas was in a crosswalk. Her body was found close to the crosswalk at Madison and Emerald, which neighbors say is a dangerous crosswalk although it is wide and has fluorescent yellow signs warning motorists to watch for pedestrians. Neighbors say it is particularly dangerous on Sunday mornings when numerous parishioners flock to the Catholic church to celebrate morning Mass.

Liability Issues

I trust this incident is being investigated by an outside police agency since it involved a Riverside police officer. If it is determined that the police officer failed to exercise due care or failed to yield the right-of-way to the pedestrian, the officer and his or employer, the police department, can be held liable for Tomas’ wrongful death. The victim’s family can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages including medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, and loss of love and companionship.

A knowledgeable Riverside personal injury lawyer will be able to determine whether a dangerous condition on the roadway caused or contributed to the incident. Under California Government Code Section 911.2, any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental agency must be filed within 180 days of the incident.

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