Noah Austill, 14, was fatally injured in a Temecula car accident after he was struck by an SUV while crossing a busy city intersection. According to a news report in The Press-Enterprise, the fatal pedestrian accident occurred at the intersection of Ynez Road and Rancho California Road, the night of March 27, 2012. Police say a mid-size SUV hit Austill who was riding a skateboard across the intersection. Officials are still investigating the cause of this fatal collision.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Noah Austill for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Riverside County Pedestrian Accidents
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), pedestrian accidents in Temecula caused two fatalities and injured 15 people. In Riverside County as a whole, 39 people died and 370 were injured due to pedestrian accidents, during the same year.
Pedestrians’ Right-of-Way Issues
Based on this news report, the teenager was skateboarding across a busy intersection when the SUV struck him. It is not yet clear whether the boy was in the crosswalk at the time of the collision. Motorists are required by California law to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, which include skateboarders, who are crossing in a crosswalk or at an intersection.
California Vehicle Code Section 21950 states: “The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.” The same section also states that the driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk “shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of a vehicle or take any other action relating to the operating of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.”
Fault and Liability
I trust officials are still looking into who had the right-of-way and whether negligence on the part of the driver led to this fatal accident. If the driver is determined to have been at fault, he or she can be held liable for Noah’s wrongful death. If a dangerous roadway or intersection contributed to this collision, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held liable. Please remember that any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a California governmental agency must be filed within 180 days of the incident. An experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer will better advise victims or their families in such cases about their legal rights and options.