Martha Ovalle, a 32-year-old Costa Mesa resident, died in a Newport Beach pedestrian accident Aug. 29 after she was struck by a sport utility vehicle while crossing the road.
Ovalle was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene shortly after she was hit by a GMC Yukon westbound on Westcliff Drive near Dover Drive even as she was crossing on a marked crosswalk, the Daily Pilot reports.
Newport Beach Police cited the driver, 41-year-old Martin Kuehl of Costa Mesa, for the fatal Buckingham Lane and Westcliff Drive street intersection accident and also arrested him for a parole violation. Newport Beach traffic investigators say Kuehl didn’t seem to be speeding. They say drugs or alcohol did not play a part in the crash either. But they are not ruling out that a distraction such as a cell phone may have caused Kuehl to hit Martha Ovalle.
This is the second Newport Beach fatal pedestrian accident in one week. On Aug. 25, Michelle Kim, 54, of Redondo Beach was struck and killed by a minivan when she crossed Newport Place Drive outside a crosswalk. The driver in that case, Sung Van Le of Santa Ana, was questioned by police and released.
I offer my condolences to the family of Martha Ovalle for their tremendous loss. In this case, Ovalle was crossing on a marked crosswalk, which makes Kuehl responsible for the Newport Beach auto accident and the fatal injuries he caused. If I were representing Ovalle’s family, I would go after Martin Kuehl with all my resources to hold him civilly responsible for Martha Ovalle’s death. He was not speeding or under the influence, but seems to have been driving negligently and not paying attention to traffic or his surroundings. If he wasn’t speeding, he should have had sufficient time to stop before striking Ovalle. Whether he faces criminal negligence charges or a misdemeanor manslaughter charges will depend on the course of the criminal investigation.
Ovalle’s family will be well-advised to retain the services of a skilled Newport Beach pedestrian accident law firm. Ovalle’s heirs should receive a rightful financial compensation for their substantial loss. A knowledgeable top orange county auto accident attorney will be able to determine if Ovalle’s auto insurance policy or any other family member’s policy she was covered under, will compensate if Kuehl is uninsured or lacks sufficient insurance.