Lisa Shelhorn, 19, was killed and a man was critically injured in a Seal Beach car accident the afternoon of December 9, 2016. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the fatal crash occurred on Westminster Avenue between Seal Beach Boulevard and Bolsa Chica Road. A preliminary investigation shows that a man in a pickup truck driving east on Westminster crossed over the painted center median into oncoming traffic and struck a westbound minivan.
Shelhorn, who was driving the minivan, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the truck was transported to a hospital in critical condition. Investigators are looking into the possibility that drugs or alcohol were factors in the collision. The investigation is ongoing.
Car Accident Statistics
There were four fatalities and 178 injuries reported as a result of car accidents in the city of Seal Beach, according to California Highway Patrol’s 2013 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). In Orange County as a whole, 165 people died and 13,837 were injured due to traffic accidents during the same year.
What Caused This Fatal Crash
Based on this news report, it appears that one of the drivers crossed over the painted median and struck the minivan. California Vehicle Code section 21651 (a): “Whenever a highway has been divided into two or more roadways by means of intermittent barriers or by means of a dividing section of not less than two feet in width, either unpaved or delineated by curbs, double-parallel lines, or other markings on the roadway, it is unlawful…to drive any vehicle over, upon, or across the dividing section.”
We trust investigators are looking into what caused the driver of the pickup truck to cross into opposing lanes of traffic. Was the driver under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs? Did high speed play a part? Did he suffer a medical episode while driving? Was he distracted or fatigued at the time?
In such cases, the at-fault driver can be held liable for the victim’s wrongful death. Families of deceased victims in such cases can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost future income, funeral costs, pain and suffering and loss of love and companionship. An experienced Orange County car accident attorney will be able to advise victims’ families regarding their legal rights and options.