John Michael King, 43, was killed in a Riverside hit-and-run accident early morning on October 26, 2011. According to a news report in The Press Enterprise, the fatal motorcycle accident occurred in the 67700 block of East Palm Canyon Drive in Cathedral City. Officials say King swerved, struck a curb and crashed after a big rig made a U-turn in front of him. The trucker stopped briefly, but left the scene of the collision. Investigators tracked down the truck driver and identified him as 49-year-old Arnold Mejangos Beltran of Baldwin Park. He has been arrested on suspicion of hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter. An investigation is ongoing.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of John Michael King for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Riverside County Motorcycle Accidents
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), two people were injured in Cathedral City motorcycle accidents. During that same year, 31 fatalities and 500 injuries occurred due to Riverside County motorcycle accidents.
Violation of Laws
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the big rig made an unsafe U-turn directly in front of the motorcyclist. King did not have sufficient time to stop and crashed attempting to avoid a collision with the truck. In addition, the truck driver here left the critically injured victim on the roadway, without waiting for authorities. Despicable! I’m relieved to note that the truck driver was apprehended and charged.
Leaving the scene of a crash is not only an inhumane and irresponsible act, but it is also illegal. California Vehicle Code Section 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.”
Holding Wrongdoers Responsible
In incidents where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, the family of the deceased victim can file a wrongful death claim. In this particular case, King’s family can claim compensation from the at-fault driver and his employer. Victims’ families would be well advised to contact an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer, who will stay on top of the official investigation and make sure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.