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San Francisco Area Car Accident Involves CHP Vehicle


Cynthia Dempsey, 44, was seriously injured in a San Francisco car accident after her pickup truck was struck by a California Highway Patrol car the evening of September 26, 2009. According to a CBS News report, Dempsey suffered major facial injuries in the crash, which occurred, when CHP officers, 25-year-old Blair Hardcastle, and trainee Erik Epting, 19, were responding to a report of a gang fight. The patrol car’s lights were flashing and siren was activated as it drove at 70 mph in the number one lane of Highway 12 just east of Highway 101 in Santa Rosa, California.

Hardcastle then saw a 2000 Yamaha motorcycle enter the Highway from an on-ramp and quickly change lanes directly ahead of the CHP unit. Hardcastle steered left to avoid hitting the motorcycle. The patrol car spun out of control across three lanes of traffic before it struck a guardrail and crashed into Dempsey’s westbound 2001 Chevy 1500 pickup. The pickup then collided with a bridge rail before rolling over and coming to rest. Justin Oliver, 26, the motorcyclist was uninjured. No one has been cited pending an investigation.

My heart goes out to Cynthia Dempsey, the injured victim in this California car accident. I’m glad that the CHP officer only suffered minor injuries. Dempsey was apparently in critical condition, but has been upgraded to serious at this point. I wish her the very best for a quick and complete recovery.

Car Accident Statistics in Sonoma County

According to California Highway Patrol’s 2007 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 11 fatalities and 857 injuries reported in Santa Rosa, California involving car accidents. In Sonoma County as a whole, 48 deaths and 2,255 injuries were reported as a result of car accidents in 2007.

In any case where multiple vehicles and multiple victims are involved, the investigation tends to be complicated. The real victim here is Dempsey. I hope the investigation has been handed over to a neutral law enforcement agency. It always concerns me when law enforcement agencies investigate one of their own. Did the CHP officer follow his department’s policy? Was there any negligence on his part? Should the motorcyclist, Oliver, also be held partly liable for Dempsey’s injuries?

An Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

Dempsey would be well-advised to consult with an experienced San Francisco personal injury lawyer, who will analyze all aspects of this complicated case and make sure that a fair and objective investigation is conducted, Dempsey’s legal rights are protected and that the negligent parties here are held accountable. Please remember that any claim against a governmental agency in California must be filed within 180 days of the accident or injury.

The Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.

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