Joey Robinson, 21, was killed in a bicycle accident in Orange after a suspected drunk driver struck him and left the scene. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the fatal crash occurred on the shoulder of Santiago Canyon Road and Loma Ridge the morning of February 3, 2014. Robinson had been riding on the shoulder of the roadway when officials say a speeding driver traveling south struck him while making an unsafe turn. Robinson, an Irvine resident, died at the scene.
The vehicle, a 2001 Toyota, left the scene by the time California Highway Patrol officials got to the scene, but Orange County Sheriff’s deputies were able to match the vehicle’s description and arrest 18-year-old Sommer Gonzalez on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter, possession of methamphetamine and paraphernalia. The driver was released because prosecutors want CHP to investigate the case more before deciding whether Gonzalez will be formally charged.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Joey Robinson, whose life was cut short in this tragic and senseless manner. His family members and friends will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Bicycle Crash Statistics
One person was killed and 76 were injured as a result of bicycle collisions in Orange in 2011, according to CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). In Orange County as a whole, 13 fatalities and 1,315 injuries were reported due to bicycle accidents during the same year.
Violation of Laws
Based on this news report, officials believe that the driver was not only under the influence of drugs, speeding and making an unsafe turn when she struck Robinson, but she also fled the scene of a fatal crash. Appalling! California Vehicle Code 20001 (a) states: “The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident.” I’m relieved to note that the driver in this case was apprehended. I also hope Robinson’s family eventually get justice and the answers they must be seeking during this very traumatic time.
In such cases where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, in addition to facing criminal charges, at-fault drivers can also be held civilly liable. Victims families can file what is known as a wrongful death lawsuit claiming compensation for damages such as medical and funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship. An experienced Orange County personal injury attorney can help injured victims and their families in such cases better understand their legal rights and options.