An 81-year-old man was killed and a 50-year-old man was critically injured after both were struck by an MTA bus while they were crossing an intersection in West Hollywood. According to a CBS Los Angeles news report, the fatal crash occurred the night of February 4, 2013 at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Palm Avenue. The driver of the MTA bus told officials that he was driving the vehicle back to the depot at the end of the shift when the collision occurred. The elderly man died while the younger man has been hospitalized in critical condition. The driver underwent a toxicology test. No passengers were on board the bus at the time of the crash. The investigation is ongoing.
Pedestrian Injuries and Fatalities
In West Hollywood, two pedestrians were killed and 50 were injured as a result of auto accidents in 2010, according to California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). In Los Angeles County as a whole, 195 people died and 4,535 were injured due to pedestrian versus vehicle collisions.
Based on this news report, it appears that the men were crossing at the intersection of Palm and Santa Monica Boulevard, where there are painted crosswalks. It is not clear why the MTA bus driver did not stop and yield the right-of-way to the pedestrians. Under California Vehicle Code Section 21950, motorists are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians walking in marked or unmarked crosswalks.
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.”
Who is Liable?
I trust officials are looking into whether the bus driver was intoxicated, drowsy, speeding or distracted when this collision occurred. If the bus driver is determined to have been at fault, he and his employer could be held liable for the elderly pedestrian’s wrongful death and the serious injuries caused to the other pedestrian. If a dangerous roadway or intersection caused this collision, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held liable. Please remember that any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental agency must be filed within 180 days of the incident.