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San Diego Car Accident Involves Police Officer


Christine Stanley, 60, and a San Diego Sheriff’s deputy identified as Dustin Lopez, were injured in a San Diego car accident the morning of August 12, 2011. According to a news report in The San Diego Union-Tribune, the injury crash occurred at the intersection of La Costa Avenue and Rancho Santa Fe Road in Carlsbad. Witnesses told police that Lopez, who was traveling south on Rancho Santa Fe, ran a red light and crashed into a Mercedes Benz sedan and a Honda van. Stanley, an occupant of the Mercedes, was hospitalized for head injuries and pain, while Lopez sustained head injuries. No one in the van was injured. An investigation is ongoing.

My thoughts and prayers are with Christine Stanley and Dustin Lopez following this three-car collision. I wish them both a complete and speedy recovery.

San Diego Car Accident Statistics

According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), two people were killed and 421 were injured in Carlsbad car accidents. During that same year, there were 217 fatalities and 12,998 injuries sustained in San Diego County car crashes.

What Caused This Intersection Accident?

Based on this news report, Lopez was in an unmarked car and on his way to a detail in Encinitas. We do not know at this point if he had flashing lights or sirens at the time. Running a red light is a serious traffic violation under California law. California Vehicle Code Section 21453 (a) states: “A driver facing a circular red signal shall stop at the limit line before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection, and shall remain stopped until an indication to proceed is shown.” Public safety officials who are on their way to an emergency situation are required to have their lights and sirens on to warn other motorists. In this case, it is not clear if the deputy did that.

Liability Issues

If Lopez is determined to have been at fault, then, he and his employer could be held liable for the injuries and damages. The injured victim in this case would be well-advised to contact an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the official investigation and make sure that her legal rights and best interests are protected. Victims can seek compensation in such cases to cover medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, physical therapy, and other damages. Under California Government Code Section 911.2, any personal injury claim against a governmental agency must be filed within 180 days of the incident.

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