A woman died in a Riverside car accident the morning of September 21, 2009 after she was struck by four vehicles as she crossed a freeway off-ramp in Corona, California. According to a CBS news report, the woman, who has not yet been identified, was first struck by a Honda Civic driven by 23-year-old Pedro Vargas who was exiting the 15 Freeway at El Cerrito Road. Vargas told California Highway Patrol officials that he tried to avoid the pedestrian, but couldn’t. The woman was hit by the left front fender.
As the victim was trying to get up and as Vargas was watching, a dark-colored sedan, possibly a Dodge Charger, exited the freeway and struck the pedestrian. That driver sped away. Within seconds, a Dodge pickup truck and a Scion also struck the woman. The driver of the Dodge pickup truck stopped, but the driver of the Scion left the scene. Officials now, would like to speak with the drivers of the Scion and the Charger. Anyone with information about this accident is asked to contact the Riverside-area CHP office at 951-637-8000.
My heart goes out to the family and friends of this pedestrian who died a horrible death. I offer my deepest condolences to her family. Please keep them in your prayers.
Riverside Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2007 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there was one fatality and 30 injuries involving pedestrian accidents in Corona, California. In Riverside County, in 2007, 43 fatalities and 393 injuries were reported as a result of pedestrian accidents.
Based on this news report, the pedestrian was not only alive, but she was trying to get up and on her feet after the first car, the Civic, struck her. The question then is: When did she suffer the fatal injuries? That’s why it’s very important for CHP traffic investigators to talk to the drivers of the Charger and the Scion in addition to the other drivers who remained at the scene.
California Hit-and-Run Laws
California law requires motorists to remain at the scene of a car accident, whether or not the accident was their fault. Drivers are required to exchange information such as identification, contact and insurance. They are also required to get help for the injured party — even if it means just calling 911.
Under California law, leaving the scene of an accident is a serious crime. According to California Vehicle Code section 20001: “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.”
There are also other questions that remain unanswered at this point. Was the woman in a crosswalk on the off-ramp when she was struck? Why did the driver of the Civic or the other drivers fail to see her or stop in time to avoid the collision? Was there a dangerous road condition or an unsafe street crossing that led to this pedestrian-car accident? Was there negligence on the part of any of the drivers? The answers to these will help determine liability in such car accident cases.
The victims and their families here would be well-advised to retain the services of an experienced California personal injury lawyer, who will keep up with the official investigation, delve into all the details and facts of the case, identify the negligent parties and hold them accountable. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer will also help victims and their families understand complex insurance issues including those that involve uninsured/underinsured motorists.