Saida Juana Mendez-Bernardino, 27, and her two daughters, Stephanie Cruz, 4 and Hilda Cruz, 8, were killed in a Los Angeles car accident involving a wrong-way driver. According to a KTLA news report, the fatal car accident occurred the morning of August 29, 2012 at Highland and Willoughby avenues in Hollywood when an Infiniti SUV veered into the wrong side of the road and slammed into the Dodge Caravan, which was carrying the family. The impact of the collision caused the minivan to crash into a light pole.
Stephanie Cruz was pronounced dead at the scene while Mendez-Bernardino and Hilda Cruz died were transported to a hospital where they died. The driver of the Infiniti, a 40-year-old man was hospitalized and is said to be in stable condition. LAPD traffic investigators are looking into whether speed was a factor in this collision. No charges have been filed yet.
My thoughts and prayers go out to this family that has lost three beloved members including two young children. What a tragic loss! I offer my deepest condolences to everyone who knew and loved these victims.
Los Angeles Car Crash Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 219 deaths and 24,561 injuries involving Los Angeles car accidents. Countywide, car accidents claimed 530 lives and injured 50,513 people during the same year.
Speed May Have Been a Factor
Based on this news report, it appears that speed may have been a factor in this tragic collision. Officials are still looking into whether the driver may have been speeding when he lost control of the SUV, swerved into opposing lanes and struck the minivan. California Vehicle Code Section 22350 (Basic Speed Law) states: “No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic and on surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.”
Protecting Families’ Rights
In such cases where negligence may have been a factor, families of deceased victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages including medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, and loss of love and companionship. Victims’ families would be well advised to seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.