A pedestrian was seriously injured in a Rialto car accident involving a police cruiser.
According to a KTLA news report, the incident occurred at the intersection of North Cactus Avenue and West Rosewood Street the night of September 13, 2015.
The pedestrian was crossing the street when he was struck the police car that had no lights or sirens.
Officials said the officer was responding to a call for service at the time.
The pedestrian flew 12 feet into the air and landed on the back of the police cruiser. The pedestrian was transported to an area hospital. The officer involved was not injured, but was said to be cooperating with the investigation. California Highway Patrol officials are investigating the crash.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured pedestrian. We hope the victim’s injuries were not life-threatening.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2013 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), one fatality and 29 injuries were reported as a result of pedestrian accidents in the city of Rialto.
In San Bernardino County as a whole, 52 fatalities and 371 injuries were reported due to pedestrian accidents during the same year.
Law Relating to Emergency Vehicles
California Vehicle Code 21806 states: “Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle which is sounding a siren and which has at least one lighted lamp exhibiting red light that is visible…the driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to the right-hand edge or curb of the highway, clear of any intersection, and thereupon shall stop and remain stopped until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed.”
However, that law applies only to emergency vehicles that have lights and/or sirens on. In this particular case, it appears that the police cruiser did not have its lights and sirens on. The pedestrian was crossing the street at the intersection. There are several questions here. Was the pedestrian in a crosswalk? Was the police cruiser speeding? What type of an incident was the officer responding to at the time? Did the pedestrian have the right-of-way?
If the police officer is determined to have been at fault, both the officer and his or her employer can be held liable for the injuries and damages caused.
Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Injured victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced San Bernardino personal injury lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that the at-fault parties are held liable.
Please remember that any personal injury claim against a governmental agency must be filed within 180 days of the incident under California Government Code Section 911.2.