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Riverside Car Crashes into Bench, Killing Two


A car slammed into a bus bench at a Riverside stop, killing two people, according to officials. The car accident occurred at Tyler Street and Magnolia Avenue when a driver lost control of his car and swerved across three lanes before striking a light pole and hitting the bench on which four passengers were seated.

Killed in the accident were 28-year-old Melissa Bernal and seven-year-old Aniya Mitchell. The other two passengers were taken to area hospitals with serious injuries. There is no word on their condition at this time. The 45-year-old driver did not appear to be drinking or using drugs at the time of the crash. Witnesses told police the man was not speeding at the time of the crash. Police are asking anyone with information on the accident to come forward.

Pedestrian Accidents in Orange County

There were 32 pedestrian deaths and 770 pedestrian injuries in Orange County in 2010, according to the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Reporting System. The present case could be considered a pedestrian accident even though the victims were not walking at the time.

Although statistics are not kept specifically on accidents involving cars hitting bus stops, this type of accident is not uncommon. In recent months, at least five major accidents with deaths or injuries have occurred in California or surrounding states in which a driver plowed into a bus stop. In many cases, the drivers were speeding or under the influence.

Why This Accident May Have Happened

The usually explanations for these types of accidents do not seem to apply in this case. The driver was apparently not drunk, not using drugs, and was not speeding. There are a few possible explanations for the driver’s behavior, but police will have to finish their investigation in order to determine the exact cause of the accident.

First, the driver could have suffered a temporary medical condition such as a seizure. Every year, thousands of people are hurt or killed when they or another driver suffer a stroke or heart attack while driving. Epileptic and other types of seizures can render victims temporarily helpless behind the wheel. If a driver suffers from some suddenly health crisis, it can cause injury to that driver or to others.

Another possibility is that the driver was distracted. Cell phones and other electronic device are causing more accidents every year as drivers take their eyes off the road for “only a few seconds” before losing control and crashing.

Finally, the driver could have suffered some type of mechanical failure in his vehicle that led to the wreck.

Liability Issues

The injured victims and the families of the two females who were killed should talk to a personal injury attorney in order to find out the facts about how much they may be entitled to collect in damages.

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