Charles Dean III, 24, suffered significant head injuries after the motorcycle he was driving was struck head-on by a vehicle whose driver, officials suspect, was under the influence. According to a news report in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, the major injury collision occurred the night of July 17, 2012 in the 300 block of North Citrus Avenue. Police say that motorcyclist was heading south on Citrus Avenue and collided head-on with a vehicle that was making a left turn in front of the motorcycle.
The driver was turning into a shopping center. The motorcyclist was ejected and suffered a severe head injury despite wearing a helmet. The driver, 24-year-old Jesse Morales, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence causing serious injury. A family member told the newspaper that Dean suffered a punctured lung and head injuries and remains in the intensive care unit. We wish Dean the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
Motorcycle Crash Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but 13 injuries involving motorcycle accidents in Azusa. In Los Angeles County as a whole, 74 people died and 2,637 were injured due to motorcycle crashes during the same year.
California Vehicle Code Violations
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the car not only made an illegal left turn and failed to yield the right-of-way to the motorcyclist, but may have also been under the influence at the time of the crash. Under California Vehicle Code 23152 (a), it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Also, California Vehicle Code Section 21801 (a) states that drivers who are about to make a left turn must yield the right-of-way to oncoming vehicles and only make the turn when it is safe to do so.
Compensation for Injured Victims
In this particular case, in addition to facing criminal charges, the driver, Morales, can also be held financially responsible for the injuries and damages caused. The injured victim, in this case Dean, can seek compensation to cover damages including medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer will be able to advise victims and their families in such cases about pursuing their legal rights and holding the at-fault parties accountable.