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San Francisco Area Car Accident Killed Teen Pedestrian


Michelle Cordova, 15, was fatally injured in a San Francisco car accident after a driver struck her as she was walking in a marked crosswalk. According to a news report in The Press Democrat, Michelle was crossing West College Avenue at Link Lane in Santa Rosa, the evening of January 27, 2010, when a vehicle driven by 22-year-old Orion Swank, struck her. Swank said he did not see Michelle and her cousin in the crosswalk. The force of the collision threw Michelle about 30 feet from the point of impact. She was taken to an area hospital where she died. Police said speed or alcohol were not factors in this fatal pedestrian accident. Michelle’s cousin, who was walking ahead of her, was uninjured.

My heart goes out to the family of young Michelle Cordova for their tragic, untimely and devastating loss. I offer my deepest sympathies to everyone who knew and loved her. They will certainly be in my prayers.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics

According to California Highway Patrol’s 2007 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but 50 injuries involving pedestrian accidents in Santa Rosa. In Sonoma County as a whole, three people died and 111 were injured as a result of pedestrian accidents in 2007.

Was this a Dangerous Intersection?

If the details of this news report are accurate, Link Lane ends at West College Avenue and there is no traffic light there. The crosswalk where this accident occurred is illuminated only by a fluorescent yellow sign attached to a streetlight. Officials say Swank may not have seen the girls in the crosswalk because the intersection was dark.

If I were one of Michelle’s family members, I would certainly want to know whether the driver in this case, Orion Swank, was distracted, inattentive or otherwise negligent when he hit the victim. It appears this driver essentially failed to yield right-of-way to Michelle who was in a marked crosswalk.

Another important issue here is the question of whether this was a dangerous or defective roadway. Police say they questioned Swank as well as another westbound driver and both said they could not see the girls because of the darkened intersection. If this was a dangerous or defective intersection, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining that roadway could also be held liable in this case. Please remember that any claim against a governmental agency in California must be filed within 180 days of the accident or injury.

An Experienced Injury Lawyer Can Help

A skilled San Francisco personal injury lawyer will be able to determine whether a dangerous condition on that Santa Rosa roadway caused or contributed to this fatal pedestrian accident. The best personal injury law firms will always offer a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation to injured victims and their families.

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