Catherine Gomez, 17, was killed in a Baldwin Park pedestrian accident after a vehicle struck her while she was walking in a marked crosswalk. According to a CBS Los Angeles news report, the fatal crash occurred the night of Dec. 18 when Gomez was walking with her boyfriend in a marked crosswalk at the intersection of Pacific and Vineland avenues. They had apparently just bought tacos for dinner and were going home when a driver ran a red light and hit the couple.
Gomez was killed and her boyfriend’s leg was broken in the crash. He is apparently still in surgery. Police have not released any information about the accident. But, the female driver, who has been arrested, has been booked on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter. She was also transported to an area hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Police do not believe alcohol or drugs played a part in the crash.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family members of Catherine Gomez for their heartbreaking loss. Our thoughts and prayers are also with her boyfriend who is still recovering from his injuries.
Pedestrians and Crosswalk Laws
There were no fatalities, but 13 injuries reported as a result of pedestrian accidents in the city of Baldwin Park, according to California Highway Patrol’s 2014 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). Countywide, 220 people died and 4,856 were injured due to pedestrian accidents during the same year.
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver not only ran a red light at an intersection, but also struck the couple who were walking in a marked crosswalk. 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.”
In this particular case, the driver may be held liable for the injuries caused as well as for the victim’s wrongful death, in addition to facing criminal charges. In such cases where negligence or wrongdoing may be factors, families of deceased victims may be able to seek compensation for damages such as medical and funeral costs, lost future income, pain and suffering and loss of love and companionship. Victims and their families would also be well advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyer who will stay on top of the official investigation and help ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.