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Elderly Pedestrian Fatally Injured in San Diego Collision


Dorothy Stephens, 83, was killed in a San Diego car accident after she was struck by a plumbing truck while walking in a crosswalk. According to a CBS 8 news report, the fatal pedestrian accident occurred after Stephens and a man who was walking with her were hit on Calle Verde near Avocado Boulevard in La Mesa, the evening of August 13, 2012. The driver, who was westbound on Calle Verde, said he could not see the pedestrians because he was blinded by the setting sun. Speed or alcohol is not believed to be a factor. Stephens died before she could be transported to the hospital. The other victim survived, but his condition is not known. Officials expect to charge the truck driver with misdemeanor manslaughter without gross negligence.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Dorothy Stephens for their terrible loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

San Diego Pedestrian Accidents

According to California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), one person died and 17 were injured as a result of pedestrian accidents in La Mesa in 2009. During the same year, 57 fatalities and 937 injuries were reported due to pedestrian crashes in San Diego County.

Crosswalk Laws

Based on this news report, the pedestrians were crossing in a marked crosswalk when they were struck. The driver apparently failed to yield the right of way to the pedestrians who were legally crossing in a crosswalk. California Vehicle Code Section 21950 states: “The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.”

The same section also states that the driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk “shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of a vehicle or take any other action relating to the operating of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.”

Liability Issues

The driver in this case is facing misdemeanor charges. He as well as his employer could be held civilly liable for the injuries and losses here. Injured victims and families of deceased pedestrian accident victims would be well advised to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in San Diego, who will also be able to determine whether a dangerous condition on the roadway caused or contributed to the incident. If that was the case, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can be held liable. 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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