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Man Killed in Indian Wells Auto Accident


Victor Leon, 63, of Palm Desert died in an Indian Wells auto accident January 12, 2009 after his vehicle crashed just north of Highway 111, according to this Desert Sun article. Riverside County Sheriff’s Department officials said Leon was killed when the point of a guardrail pierced his Toyota Prius near the passenger door and impaled Leon at his hip and groin area. The rail is apparently part of a gate some say swung open onto the road. The accident occurred on Miles Avenue between Highway 111 and Warner Trail.

My heart goes out to the family and many friends of Victor Leon, who was apparently a popular local singer in the Palm Springs area. I offer my deepest condolences to everyone who knew and loved Leon. His family members will be in my prayers.

At debate now is who owns that gate that swung open and resulted in a fatal auto injury to Victor Leon. A flag on the gate names the Coachella Valley Water District, but district officials have said that the gate is definitely not owned by the district. Indian Wells city officials have declined to comment on the crash and have said they will not confirm whether the city owns the gate.

Although members of the family and friends of Victor Leon won’t like to hear it, this is going to be a long drawn out investigation because it could involve several governmental agencies. And the reason these agencies are not commenting at this point is because one of them could be held liable for Leon’s fatal injuries.

Leon’s family would be well-advised to retain the services of a reputed California auto accident law firm, which has the experience and the resources to determine the facts of this case and identify the parties that should be held accountable. Someone owned that gate and ideally, they need to step forward and assume responsibility. But unfortunately, that doesn’t happen too often in a fatal accident case.

A skilled personal injury lawyer will also carefully examine whether there was a hazardous condition on the roadway. An official investigation could take several months, but the victim’s family does not have too much time to file a claim. According to the California Government Code, any claim against a governmental agency must be properly filed within six months of the accident. The family would also be well-advised to preserve Leon’s Toyota Prius in its current crashed condition so an expert can examine it for mechanical malfunction, product defects and other evidence.

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